UMass Boston News

Celebrating 30 Years of MSPA Graduates of the McCormack Graduate School

Event Date: April 16, 2014 - 6 p.m.
Location: Campus Center, Alumni Lounge

By invitation only

Entering its 30th year, the Master of Science in Public Affairs (MSPA) has  trained hundreds of public sector leaders. Whether in the nonprofit, public, or private sectors, McCormack graduates share a commitment to improving our communities locally, nationally, and globally.
 
MSPA alums will join Director Connie Chan, the faculty of the MSPA program, and Dean Ira Jackson, to celebrate this milestone year, to hear from a distinguished alumni panel, and to meet current students in the MSPA program.

6:00 p.m. - Wine & Cheese Reception

6:30 p.m. - MSPA Alumni Career Panel, featuring:

 

Hilda Mejia Abreu '92 (Executive Director, Program Partnerships at Liaison International

Hilda Mejia Abreu grew up in the Dominican Republic. After High School, she attended University of Massachusetts Boston. At UMass Boston, she completed a Baccalaureate Degree in Social Sciences and a minor in Latin American Studies. In 1992, Hilda received a master degree in Public Affairs (MSPA) from the McCormack Graduate School. While at UMass Boston, Hilda worked as assistant director of Financial Aid, Student Employment Coordinator, and admissions counselor.

In 1993, Hilda started her tenure at Michigan State University with the Office of Career Services. After a year in Career Services, she joined the College of Veterinary Medicine as the Director of Admissions and Student Services Coordinator. After a few years as Director of Admissions, Hilda was promoted to Assistant Dean for Admissions and Student Services, in this role, she worked closely with faculty and administrators admitting new veterinary medical students and providing support services to enrolled medical students. At MSU, in 1998, she received the Unsung Hero Award. Her award highlighted her accomplishment of implementing a successful Veterinary Medical School Application Service (VMCAS) and increasing enrollment at the Veterinary School.

In 2009, Hilda was recruited to become Associate Dean for Admissions and Student Services at the University of Texas Health Science Center School of Nursing. In this role, she had the responsibility for hiring and training a new team of admission officers, implementing policies to adhere with best practices in enrollment management, and to market the school at the local, national, and international level. In 2013, Hilda received the Faculty Senate Leadership Award.

In 2013, Hilda was named Executive Director, Program Partnerships at Liaison International. In this newly created role, Dr. Mejia Abreu will work with the American Association of the Colleges of Nursing (AACN) to encourage its member schools and programs to adopt NursingCAS, the centralized application service for professional nursing programs. NursingCAS allows applicants to use a single online application and one set of materials to apply to multiple nursing programs across participating schools, and enables programs to analyze and benchmark their applicant data on a powerful centralized platform.

In 2013, Hilda was named Executive Director, Program Partnerships at Liaison International. In this newly created role, Dr. Mejia Abreu will work with the American Association of the Colleges of Nursing (AACN) to encourage its member schools and programs to adopt NursingCAS, the centralized application service for professional nursing programs. NursingCAS allows applicants to use a single online application and one set of materials to apply to multiple nursing programs across participating schools, and enables programs to analyze and benchmark their applicant data on a powerful centralized platform.

 

Mary K. Grant '86 (President, Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts)

Mary K. Grant, PhD., is the 11th president of Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA). Dr. Grant is the first alumna of the College to serve as its president. Under her leadership, MCLA has expanded academic programming and Facilities, provided students with new study away, internship, research, and service opportunities, overseen growth in enrollment, strengthened the relationship between the College and the community, launched the College’s first comprehensive capital campaign, and become part of the Massachusetts State University System. In response to these initiatives, MCLA has been ranked in U.S. News and World Report as one of the top ten public liberal arts college in the nation for the last three years.

As a member of the Governor’s Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) Advisory Council Dr. Grant has provided leadership to advance the Commonwealth’s STEM and spearheaded the effort leading to MCLA’s successfully securing $54 million to fund the construction of the new Feigenbaum Center for Science and Innovation and the renovation of Bowman Hall.

Dr. Grant is Chair of the Council of Presidents of the Massachusetts Statewide University System. She serves on the boards of the Commonwealth Covenant Fund, MassINC, the Norman Rockwell Museum, and the University of Massachusetts Boston Board of Visitors. Dr. Grant recently served as the Chair of the Board of the Massachusetts Campus Compact and is past President of the Board of the Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges (COPLAC). She established the Berkshire Compact for Education, a county-wide initiative focused on strengthening educational achievement in Berkshire County. Dr. Grant serves on numerous other state and regional boards; and has received awards for her advocacy for public higher education, civic engagement, and community service.

Dr. Grant holds a Ph.D. in social policy from The Heller School at Brandeis University, a Master's degree in public affairs from the John W. McCormack Graduate School of Policy and Global Studies at UMass Boston, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in sociology from Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts. In 2012, Williams College presented Dr. Grant an honorary doctorate.

 

Kerri Cleghorn Lai '08 (Senior Major Gifts Officer, National Brain Tumor Society)

Kerri Cleghorn Lai is a senior major gifts officer at the National Brain Tumor Society, the largest nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing research and improving public policy in the brain tumor field. She received her MSPA from UMass Boston’s McCormack Graduate School, graduating as valedictorian in 2008. Her capstone was titled, “Civil Commitment and the Commonwealth: A Viable Treatment, a Political Cop-out, or a Means-to-an-End in the Management of Repeat, Violent Sex Offenders.” Ms. Lai completed her undergraduate degree in psychology at the University of Rochester in 2000. Her honors thesis focused on female serial killers and she was the first intern ever hired into the Homicide Unit of the Rochester Police Department. During the past fourteen years Ms. Lai has worked in the not-for-profit sector as a fundraiser for some of the nation’s most distinguished organizations: McLean Hospital, The Boston Public Library Foundation, the University of Massachusetts Boston and the Boston Symphony Orchestra.In 2011, Ms. Lai moved back to her home state of Texas to take a senior position in development at the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. After seven years in the classical music industry Ms. Lai decided to go back into healthcare. As a senior major gifts officer at the National Brain Tumor Society, Ms. Lai and her colleagues provide more than $10 million in funding to brain tumor researchers across the globe that improve treatments and expedite the discovery of new therapies. Ms. Lai has her CFRE accreditation, is published in Fundraising Success Magazine, is a frequent speaker at nonprofit conferences, is a member of The Junior League and a “Big Sister” and is proud to have completed the 109th Boston Marathon. Kerri lives in Dallas with her husband Peter and their spoiled chihuahua pug, Sophie.

 

Darrell LeMar '09 (Strategic Planning Manager, Massachusetts Marketing Partnership)

Darrell LeMar is the Strategic Planning Manager for the Massachusetts Marketing Partnership, a government entity that was created by the Massachusetts legislature in 2010 to coordinate the activities of the MA Office for Travel and Tourism (MOTT), MA Film Office (MFO), MA Sports Marketing Partnership (MSMP), and the MA Office for International Trade and Investment (MOITI). Darrell is the Partnership’s point person on municipal affairs.

Prior to this recent appointment, Darrell served as the Deputy Associate Director for the Division of Housing Stabilization at the MA Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) where he was the deputy for all the homeless services in the Commonwealth. He had oversight of 80 employees who served as the front line staff to determining a family’s eligibility for $168 million state funded homeless shelter services.

Darrell has also served as the Deputy Director of Communications for two of the state’s Secretaries of Economic Development and Housing in the Deval Patrick Administration. He was also the Integration Director for the former Secretary of Economic Development in the Mitt Romney Administration.

Darrell has had an extensive career in the public and not-for-profit human services sector. He served as the Director of Social Services at the Dorchester House Multi Service Center, Director of Prevention and Community Education at the AIDS Action Committee, Project Director for a multi million dollar juvenile justice federal demonstration project for the city of Boston, and was the Family Service Manager for Dorchester CARES, another federally-funded demonstration project on child maltreatment.

Darrell has served on a number of boards and coalitions at the local and national levels. He is a founding board member of F.A.M.I.L.Y. He was also a community teaching fellow at the Graduate School of Education at Harvard. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish Language with a minor in Russian from the University of Massachusetts Boston and a Master of Science in Public Affairs from the McCormack Graduate School of Policy Studies at UMass Boston. Darrell is fluent in Spanish. He lives in Dorchester, MA.

 

Robert Spellane '11 (Community and Business Development Director, Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers)

Robert Spellane works as the Community and Business Development Director of the Mass League of Community Health Centers.

Prior to this work with the Mass League of Community Health Centers he was a member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives, where he represented the 13th Worcester District from 2001 to 2011. Serving as Chairman of the Joint Committee On Public Service and Vice Chairman of the Financial Services Committee. During this time Robert also worked as a mortgage broker.

He received a bachelor’s degree from Roanoke College and graduated from the MSPA program at the McCormack Graduate School in 2011.

 

Michael Sulprizio '11 (Director of Operations, Boston Centers for Youth and Families)

Michael J. Sulprizio is the Director of Operations at Boston Centers for Youth & Families (BCYF), the City of Boston’s largest human services agency. He received his BA in Political Science from Boston University in 2006 and his MSPA from the McCormack Graduate School in 2011. Since joining BCYF in 2011 Michael has held the positions of Administrative Coordinator and Regional Operations Manager prior to being promoted to his current position as Director of Operations in July of 2013. Prior to working at BCYF Michael worked as a Legislative Aide to the State Representative serving East Boston and also worked as Deputy Campaign Manager on the Representative’s first campaign. Michael currently serves as the Vice-Chairman of the Ward 1 Democratic Committee, as a board member for the East Boston CDC and recently was selected to serve on the 2014 City of Boston ONEin3 Council. Michael is a lifelong resident of East Boston where he currently owns a home with his wife Lindsay. Their daughter, Violet May Sulprizio, was born in May 2013.

7:30 p.m. - Pi Alpha Alpha Induction Ceremony

For disability-related accommodations, including dietary accommodations, please visit www.ada.umb.edu two weeks prior to the event.