Early MPPs reunite in Ann Arbor, among the first to earn degrees in public policy

July 22, 2015

On Saturday, July 18, the Ford School was delighted to welcome nine alumni from the early 1970s for a small-group reunion in Ann Arbor.

Rick Curtis and Vic Miller came in from Washington, DC. Thomas Linn and Roger Short drove in from Detroit. And the rest hailed from Texas, Bill Hughes; Massachusetts, Pat Keating; Illinois, Marilyn McCoy; California, Emery “Ozzie” Roe; and North Carolina, Sherry Suttles.

All had begun their studies in the fall of 1970, just after the launch of the Institute of Public Policy Studies (IPPS), predecessor to the Ford School. The Institute of Public Policy Studies was the nation’s first public policy degree program, and the first master’s of public policy degrees were awarded in 1971. The group shared memories about IPPS Director Pat Crecine, who in 1969 had shifted the program’s curricular focus from public administration to the nascent discipline of public policy. 

Among the first to answer the question, “what does one do with a public policy degree,” these early MPPs have led fascinating careers in public service. Highlights include managing rural and agricultural development projects in Africa, helping post-conflict and transitioning countries structure their finances, assisting Jamaica with a watershed management plan, serving as vice president of a major university, serving as chief administrator of cities and counties, budgeting for higher education, financing for public projects, promoting effective state health policies, directing a county land bank program, and more.