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Wish you'd been here

If you weren’t on SPEA’s Bloomington campus this fall, you missed:

smileySPEA alum Tavis Smiley, BS ’03, presented the commencement address during graduation ceremonies May 5 on the Bloomington campus. A TV and radio talk-show personality, he hosts “The Tavis Smiley Show” on Public Radio International and “Tavis Smiley” on PBS.

“Tavis Smiley is one of our own,” said IU President Adam Herbert. “He came to IU with limited resources, but a strong passion for learning.”

After leaving IU in 1986, Smiley became an aide to former Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley, and then become a commentator on TV and radio. He eventually returned to IU and received his bachelor’s degree from SPEA in 2003. In 1999, he founded the Tavis Smiley Foundation, an organization to encourage, empower, and enlighten black youths.

The Indiana University Alumni Association is responsible for organizing commencement, and it was former IU Alumni Association President Ken Beckley who played a role in bringing Smiley to campus.

Smiley also joined SPEA students and faculty at SPEA for lunch and conversation, and he was presented with SPEA’s highest award, the Distinguished Alumnus Award for 2007.

borst and tooleyIn March, SPEA IUPUI hosted members of the Indiana General Assembly for a luncheon to promote the creation of fellowships for SPEA students interested in public service. The guest of honor was former state senator Larry Borst, who endowed a graduate fellowship at SPEA IUPUI in 2005 to provide financial support for a talented SPEA graduate student to gain experience in finance and budgetary analysis and programs with the Indiana Senate. Ben Tooley, the first Borst Fellowship recipient, spoke to the legislators about his experience conducting research to assist Senate leaders who are wrestling with state financial issues.

Senators in attendance were: Luke Kenley (Noblesville), James Lewis (Charlestown), Teresa Lubbers (Indianapolis), David Long (Ft. Wayne), Robert Meeks (LaGrange), Tom Weatherwax (Logansport), Thomas Wyss (Ft. Wayne), and Richard Young (Indianapolis). Representatives in attendance were: Cleo Duncan (Dist. 67), Phyllis Pond (Dist. 85), and Peggy Welch (Dist. 60).

baron hillThe time has come for the U.S. to bring its troops home from Iraq. That is the opinion of Indiana’s 9th Congressional District representative, Baron Hill, who spoke in April in the SPEA Atrium in Bloomington.

 “We have been there long enough,” he said, talking to a group of more than a hundred SPEA students, faculty, and staff. “We have done our part. It is now time for the people of Iraq to step up to the plate and control their own destiny.”

But Hill said he supports a “gradual redeployment,” not immediate withdrawal. He defended his previous vote for legislation that continues to fund the war but sets benchmarks and timetables for ending the U.S. role. Hill spoke for about 15 minutes, then spent the next 30-40 minutes answering questions from mostly students on a wide variety of topics, chiefly concerning the war in Iraq and the United States’ role in that country.

Hill said he’s glad House and Senate leaders plan to talk with Bush about their disagreements over the war. But he said it’s unclear what will happen if, as expected, Bush vetoes legislation that sets deadlines for bringing the troops home.

“I quite frankly don’t know what the next step will be,” he said, “but I think the Congress has to remain strong here."

hamiltonWhen he spoke at the IU School of Public and Environmental Affairs Capitol Hill Colloquium in Washington, D.C. in March, former Indiana congressman Lee Hamilton criticized the president’s plans for a military surge in Iraq.

“In order to solve the problems in Iraq, you need to surge a lot more than just the military,” Hamilton told an audience of SPEA students, graduates, and guests, including former Indiana Sen. Birch Bayh and current Rep. Baron Hill. Hamilton listed diplomacy, national reconciliation, and economic development as primary concerns in Iraq.

His priorities differ from those of President Bush, Hamilton said. “The president’s position is that you need to achieve security first, and then you take the tough political steps – or, to put it in other language, the precondition to advancing your goals in Iraq is stability in Baghdad.

“It is not clear, to me at least, that you can achieve the stability that we all seek in that area by military action alone and without concurrent action in other areas of our policy,” he said.

Hamilton stressed the importance of transferring military responsibilities to Iraqi forces, and expressed concern that the surge ran counter to this effort.

“I worry that this surge will delay the important shift in emphasis from combat to training and thus delay the removal of U.S. forces,” he said.

handel.holmes.wrightAt the request of the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration, a workgroup of IU faculty experts will study potential reforms in health care delivery in Indiana. Eric R. Wright, associate professor and director of the Center for Health Policy, was selected to co-chair the workgroup and will lead faculty from the IU School of Law, the IU School of Medicine, and two additional SPEA IUPUI faculty members, David Handel, clinical professor and director of health programs and Ann M. Holmes, associate professor. Wright said that the workgroup’s vision is a “state-of-the-art health care delivery system for all Hoosiers that is cost-effective. It will bring in national consultants and hold public meaetings throughout the state to solicit input from the community and stakeholder groups.” The workgroup will prepare a public report outlining alternative strategies to address the future of health care delivery in Indiana, including estimates of the costs and associated consequences.

ritchieOver 150 government, academic, business, and health professionals attended the 2007 Summit on Children’s Health and the Environment on April 13th in Indianapolis. The one-day summit was co-hosted by SPEA IUPUI, the Indiana University School of Medicine Center for Environmental Health, Improving Kids’ Environment, and the Hoosier Environmental Council. The Summit focused on three environmental threats to children’s health in Indiana – fine particle air pollution, health threats to children in their homes, and endocrine disruptors. Ingrid Ritchie, associate professor and director of academic affairs at SPEA IUPUI, led SPEA’s planning efforts. Speakers included experts from the University of Southern California, Washington State University, and the National Center for Healthy Housing.

IU logoSPEA IUPUI was proud to host two outstanding speakers for its 2007 commencement activities – SPEA alumnus Dale Neuburger, and former first lady of Indiana, Judy O’Bannon. Dale Neuburger, MPA ’97, received the 2007 SPEA Service Award at SPEA IUPUI’s graduation dinner in April. Neuburger is the director of TSE Consulting – North America where he provides business expertise to national and international sports organizations, sports commissions, and nonprofit organizations. Neuburger is also vice president of FINA, the international federation for swimming, and he will coordinate the swimming competition for the International Olympic Committee and FINA in Beijing. Judy O’Bannon delivered the SPEA IUPUI Post-Commencement Ceremony remarks on May 13th to over 200 graduates and their families.