2013 Deil S. Wright Lecture

November 7 - 3:00 p.m.

School of Government, UNC-Chapel Hill

The Honorable Ray LaHood, Former US Secretary of Transportation


Ray LaHood will present “Insights from a Cabinet Secretary on Leadership and Transformational Change,” addressing bipartisanship and the impact of the recent government shutdown.


Ray LaHood served as the U.S. Secretary of Transportation from 2009 through 2013, leading an agency with more than 55,000 employees and a $70 billion budget that oversees air, maritime, and surface transportation. In nominating him, President-elect Obama said, “Few understand our infrastructure challenge better than the outstanding public servant that I’m asking to lead the Department of Transportation.”

Under LaHood's leadership, the U.S. Department of Transportation continued its commitment to making US transportation systems the safest in the world while creating more affordable and reliable transportation options for hardworking American families. LaHood oversaw the Department of Transportation's implementation of the Recovery Act, the most significant public works program since the New Deal, which created jobs and poured billions of dollars into our roads, bridges, railways, airports, and transit systems.  He launched an aggressive national campaign to end the dangerous practice of distracted driving, and has helped to protect consumers when they fly by banning lengthy tarmac delays, increasing compensation for bumped passengers, and requiring more transparent airfare pricing. He emphasized the importance of livable and sustainable communities, putting all travelers on equal footing whether they get behind the wheel of a car or put on a pair of walking shoes.  And he helped protect consumers when they fly by banning lengthy tarmac delays, increasing compensation for bumped passengers, requiring more transparent airfare pricing, and much more.

Prior to his cabinet appointment in 2009, LaHood represented the 18th District of Illinois in the U.S. House of Representatives for 14 years, from 1995 to 2009, serving on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and Appropriations Committee. Before that time, he was chief of staff to US Congressman Robert Michel, whom he succeeded in representing the 18th District, and as district administrative assistant to Congressman Thomas Railsback. He also served in the Illinois State Legislature.

LaHood was also a junior high school teacher, director of the Rock Island County Youth Services Bureau, and chief planner for the Bi-States Metropolitan Planning Commission in Illinois. He received an undergraduate degree from Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois.

Parking will be available. Please contact Jean Coble at 919.962.0426 or coble@sog.unc.edu for more information.

This event is free and open to the public. The Deil S. Wright Lecture is sponsored by the MPA Alumni Association and Fidelity Investments.


Past Lecturers


2012 Lecture
"Leadership in Service"
Ray Mabus, Secretary of the US Navy

Ray Mabus is the 75th secretary of the United States Navy. He leads America's Navy and Marine Corps and is responsible for an annual budget in excess of $150 billion and almost 900,000 people. Prior to joining the administration of President Barack Obama, Mabus served in a variety of top posts in government and the private sector. He was governor of Mississippi, ambasador to the kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and CEO of Foamex.

See the video of Secretary Mabus' lecture.

Read an article about Secretary Mabus in Impact.


2011 Lecture
“Time of Reckoning: Facing Facts about the Federal Deficit”
Erskine Bowles, Co-Chair,  National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform

Erskine Bowles is co-chair of President Barack Obama’s bipartisan National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform. He has an extensive history in politics, serving as administrator of the Small Business Administration and White House chief of staff under President Bill Clinton. Mr. Bowles was also a member of the National Security Council and the National Economic Council. He served from 2005 to 2010 as president of the University of North Carolina system.

2010 Lecture
"Interrelationshipos Between Law and Public Administration"
Walter Dellinger, Melveny & Myers, Washington, DC
Walter Dellinger, a visiting professor of law at Harvard University in 2010, was on leave from a professorship at Duke Law School. He has served in the White House as an advisor on constitutional issues, was assistant attorney general and head of the Office of Legal Counsel, and served as acting solicitor general for the US Supreme Court.

2009 Lecture
"Change, Think, Innovate"
Patricia Wallace Ingraham, College of Community and Public Affairs, Binghamton University

Patricia Wallace Ingraham is founding dean of the College of Community and Public Affairs at Binghamton University. A public policy expert and accompished academic researcher, Ingraham has also taught at the Maxwell School of Public Affairs at Syracuse University.
2008 Lecture
"Leadership and Innovation in a Changing World"
James H. Svara, Arizona State University
James Svara is a professor in the School of Public Affairs and director of the Center for Urban Innovation at Arizona State University. He was also a professor of political science and public administration at North Carolina State University and association professor of political science at UNC-Greensboro.
2007 Lecture
Rosemary O'Leary, Professor of Publc Administration and International Affairs, Syracuse University
2006 Lecture
Matthew Holden Jr., PhD, Professor in Political Science, University of Illinois, Springfield

2005 Lecture
Richard Nathan, Professor, State University of New York, Albany

2004 Lecture
“The Presidential Election of 2004 in Historical Perspective”
William Leuchtenberg, Professor, UNC-Chapel  Hill

2003 Lecture
“Articulating the Interests of Local Government in the Federal System”
Robert O’Neill, ICMA

2002 Lecture
“Transition and Transformations:  Challenges facing the US Government”
David Walker, Comptroller General, US General Accountability Office



The Deil S. Wright Lecture Series is hosted by the Master of Public Administration program at UNC-Chapel Hill and sponsored by Fidelity Investments and the MPA Alumni Association.                                        

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