For Immediate Release
March 10, 2017
Karen E. T. Garrett
Chief of Communications & Marketing
(202) 585-4313

ASPA and NAPA Recognize Public Service Leadership with the 2018 National Public Service Awards

Washington, DC – Each year, the American Society for Public Administration (ASPA) and the National Academy of Public Administration (NAPA) select outstanding public servants for its National Public Service Award. This year’s recipients, Adm. William McRaven, Susan Raufer and Gen. Mark Welsh, III, represent extraordinary leadership in armed forces administration, veterans’ health care and refugee aid. Their awards will be presented March 10 during ASPA’s Annual Conference in Denver.

“These public service awards are our opportunity to say thank you to dedicated individuals for their hard work and contributions to all facets of society. Public service is about commitment to others and we are proud to highlight these individuals’ accomplishments,” said ASPA Executive Director William Shields.

University of Texas (UT) System Chancellor William H. McRaven, a retired U.S. Navy four-star admiral, leads one of the nation’s largest and most respected systems of higher education. Since he became chancellor in January 2015, he has recommitted the UT System and its institutions to improving the lives of Texans and people all over the world through education, research and health care. Prior to becoming chancellor, McRaven was the commander of U.S. Special Operations Command, during which time he led a force of 69,000 men and women and was responsible for conducting counter-terrorism operations worldwide. He also is a recognized national authority on U.S. foreign policy and has advised Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama and other U.S. leaders on defense issues. His book, Spec Ops: Case Studies in Special Operations Warfare: Theory and Practice, is considered a fundamental text on special operations strategy. McRaven graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in 1977 with a degree in journalism and received his master’s degree from the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey in 1991.

Susan Raufer is director of the Newark Asylum Office of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. She became director of the office in September 1999. Raufer began her career with the U.S. government in 1994 as an asylum officer, becoming a supervisory asylum officer in 1996 and deputy director in 1998. During her tenure, the Newark Asylum Office has adjudicated thousands of asylum applications and responded to international crises that resulted in the migration of asylum-seekers to the United States. She also has participated in processing refugees from the Bosnian Crisis in Croatia; Project Provide Refuge for Kosovar refugees at Fort Dix, NJ; refugees from Myanmar; refugee survivors of the genocide in Rwanda; and processing Central American minors in El Salvador.

Prior to joining the INS, Raufer worked for 13 years for Lutheran Social Ministries of New Jersey. She initially was responsible for the resettlement of refugees through church or agency sponsorship. She began her career as an English teacher for Save the Children Foundation in a refugee camp in Phanat Nikhom, Thailand, teaching English to Cambodian, Laotian and Vietnamese refugees bound for resettlement. She has an undergraduate degree from the School for International Training in Brattleboro, VT and received her J.D. from Rutgers
University School of Law in 1994.

Gen. Mark A. Welsh, III became dean of the Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University in August 2016 after a 40-year career in the U.S. Air Force. During his long military career, he received numerous awards and decorations, including multiple awards of the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, Distinguished Service Medal and the Distinguished Flying Cross. Welsh became the 20th Chief of Staff of the Air Force in August 2012, responsible for the organization, training and equipping of 664,000 active-duty, Guard, Reserve and civilian forces serving in the United States and overseas. As a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, he and other service chiefs functioned as military advisers to the Secretary of Defense, National Security Council and the President. During his Air Force career, he also served as commander of U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Africa, commander of NATO’s Air Command, associate director of military affairs at the Central Intelligence Agency and Commandant of the United States Air Force Academy. He earned a BS from the U.S. Air Force Academy, an MS in computer resource management from Webster University and graduated from the Army Command and General Staff College, the Air War College and the National War College. He was a fellow of Seminar XXI at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the National Security Studies Program of Syracuse University and Johns Hopkins University, Ukrainian Security Studies at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and the Pinnacle Course of the National Defense University. He also is a graduate of the General Manager Program at the Harvard Business School.


About ASPA: ASPA is the leading interdisciplinary public service organization that advances the art, science, teaching and practice of public and nonprofit administration. Learn more at

About NAPA: Chartered by Congress, the National Academy of Public Administration is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization created to help public sector leaders meet management challenges through evaluation, analysis and recommendations. Learn more at