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Rockefeller College's Distinguished Leaders of Public Service

June 24, 2009

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Congressman John McHugh, University at Albany alum and President Barack Obama

"John understands personally and deeply the sacrifices that our soldiers and their families make every day," said President Obama in announcing the nomination of McHugh for secretary of the Army. (Photo Ozier Muhammad, N.Y. Times)

When President Barack Obama sought to fill the post of secretary of the Army, he turned to a leading expert on armed services -- Rep. John McHugh, graduate of the University at Albany's Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy.

"John understands personally and deeply the sacrifices that our soldiers and their families make every day," said President Obama at a news conference announcing McHugh's nomination.

McHugh received a master's degree in public administration (M.P.A.) from UAlbany in 1977. With his nomination, McHugh joins a group of four Rockefeller College alumni tapped for senior positions in the Obama administration. Classmate John Porcari, M.P.A. 77, is now serving as deputy secretary of transportation. He previously served two terms as Maryland's transportation secretary.

Christine Varney, who received a bachelor's degree in political science in 1978, was confirmed as assistant attorney general for the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice. During the Clinton administration, she served as the Federal Trade Commissioner, and as an assistant to the president and secretary to the Cabinet.

Bonnie Jenkins, M.P.A.88, is the nominee for Coordinator for Threat Reduction Programs, a high-level position in the United States Department of State. She is an expert in counterterrorism and arms control, and has held positions in the Departments of Defense and State.

UAlbany alum John Porcari, M.P.A. 77, Deputy Secretary of Transportation

UAlbany alum John Porcari, M.P.A. 77, serves as the deputy secretary of transportation in the Obama Administration.

With accomplished alumni, nationally-recognized faculty and ground-breaking research, the Rockefeller College is one of the University's major strengths. U.S. News and World Report ranks the Rockefeller College public affairs program 14th out of 269 nationwide. Several areas within the college also rank among the best in the nation, including programs in information and technology management, public management/ administration, public finance and budgeting, and public policy analysis.

"Developing leaders starts with strong intellectual, analytical and ethical foundations," said Rockefeller College Dean Jeffrey D. Straussman. "The faculty and staff of Rockefeller College strive to instill these attributes in all of our students. These nominations further solidify the College's reputation and legacy of preparing students to be distinguished leaders of public service."

As secretary, McHugh will lead the civilian office of the U.S. Army, responsible for manpower, reserve affairs, weapons systems and equipment acquisition, and financial management. He will also advise the Secretary of Defense on the capabilities and requirements of the Army to perform its missions. A Watertown, N.Y. native, McHugh has represented upstate New York in Congress since 1993, serving as the top Republican member of the House Armed Services Committee.

"We are proud of and celebrate the vast accomplishments of our alumni in their careers as judges, government leaders and public servants," said Straussman.

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Ben Spear '10
UAlbany Students

"The Honors College has been a great experience because of the ability to get together with a small group of people with a common goal of success."

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