Pictured are Texas A&M International University MPA Alums and Professors at a ceremony held for Public Service Week. The MPA Alumni Association thanked public servants in the community and honored the first MPA Professor at TAMIU, Dr. Carol Waters (who is pictured in the center). The group also recognized City of Laredo Health Department Director Dr. Hector F. Gonzalez for his outstanding service in the field of Public Health.

TAMIU MPA Alumni Association to Recognize "Public Service Week: Take Time to Thank a Public Service Employee

Members of Texas A&M International University’s Master of Public Administration Alumni Association, along with current TAMIU MPA students, gathered for a proclamation and special event to in honor of Public Service Recognition Week, observed May 7th through the 13th. The event was held to raise awareness of those individuals who carry out the valuable public services that help make life better for all. These individuals, or public servants, can be found at the federal, state, county and city levels of government and perform the functions that keep our community running.  In many cases, these individuals place service above self.
“There are many public services that we all benefit from, and it is easy to take them for granted if we don’t stop to recognize the individuals who make them possible,” said TAMIU MPA Association President Anita Guerra.  “Our MPA Association would like to say 'thank you' to all those who are making a difference.”
Individuals in public service include military personnel, police officers, firefighters, federal law enforcement officers and agents, health care professionals, teachers, postal workers, safety inspectors, social workers, computer technicians, laborers, and countless other occupations.
At the event, TAMIU President Pablo Arenaz acknowledged the valuable work performed by public servants and noted how the University’s MPA program can help set up prospective students for success if they chose to enter the public service field.
The MPA alumni group took the opportunity to acknowledge the longtime City of Laredo Health Department Director Dr. Hector F. Gonzalez. Dr. Gonzalez was presented the “2017 Public Service Award” for acting as the City's long-standing authority on Public Health issues and overseeing various departments and programs under Environmental Health Services, Disease Control, Public Health Promotion and Nutrition, Health Education and much more.
City of Laredo Mayor Pete Saenz was on hand and proclaimed the week as Public Service Week in Laredo.
After the proclamation, the MPA alumni group, many of them in positions of public service themselves, honored the University’s first professor of the MPA program, Dr. Carol Waters, who started the program in 1999.
The event was capped off by two MPA individuals. Mika Akikuni, Associate Director of Marketing at TAMIU and a 2002 graduate of the program, talked to the audience about how she has utilized her MPA knowledge and skills in her profession. Mike Garza, a soon-to-be 2017 MPA graduate, talked about how he will utilize his new MPA found skills. Garza is currently the Assistant Superintendent for Administration at United ISD and a former City council member for District I.
 The TAMIU MPA Program is committed to preparing individuals in the public and nonprofit sectors to lead and manage public agencies, programs, and projects. Considering their location in the South Texas border region, MPA faculty provide the requisite knowledge, skills, and abilities needed for leadership and management roles in a culturally diverse international society. Through commitment to innovative teaching, research, and community engagement, excellence is emphasized in education and training by teaching students to value public service, think analytically and critically, and communicate effectively.
For more information on the TAMIU MPA Program, contact Dr. Peter Haruna, Associate Dean College of Arts and Sciences and MPA Director at (956) 326-2613.