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Profiles in Public Service: American Heroes We Should Know Better

This course will provide profiles of public service heroes who have accomplished something great for the nation or the world, but who have not gotten the lasting acclaim they have earned. The profiles will include: Arthur Vandenberg, the Republican Senator from Michigan who worked closely with the Truman administration on the Marshall Plan and helped establish bipartisan foreign policy; Dorothy Thompson, the American journalist and broadcaster who warned the world about the rise of Hitler and the Nazis in the 1930’s; Harvey Wiley, the Department of Agriculture chemist who championed the nation’s first food safety law; George Wythe, Thomas Jefferson’s teacher and mentor in Williamsburg; Rosa Parks, whose refusal to give up her bus seat led to the Montgomery, Alabama bus boycott and galvanized the civil rights movement; Alice Paul, the suffragist who changed the strategy of the suffrage movement and got the constitutional amendment guaranteeing women’s right to vote added to the U.S. Constitution. Lectures and discussions will be supplemented by excerpts from documentary and other films. Michael M. Stahl served for 34 years in state and federal government in the executive and legislative branches. For much of his career in the federal government, he worked at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as a member of the Senior Executive Service, the nation’s senior ranks for career government service. He also served for 18 years as an Adjunct Faculty Member at George Mason University’s Master in Public Administration program where he taught courses in program planning and implementation. Since his retirement in 2015, he has taught four courses for OLLI/UVA in public affairs. In July 2022, Michael published The Promise of Public Service (Routledge/Taylor and Francis Group). He is working to complete and publish his second book, Profiles in Public Service. He is the recipient of the Presidential Rank Award for Meritorious Service (2002) and Distinguished Service (2008) and of EPA’s Distinguished Career Service Award (2015). He earned a Master in Public Administration degree from the University of Missouri in 1980.

Please contact our office regarding availability of this course:


540-568-4253
pce@jmu.edu