2015 Deil S. Wright Lecture

Christine Todd Whitman, Whitman Strategy Group President, Former Environmental Protection Agency Administrator, Former New Jersey Governor

Christine Todd Whitman is president of the Whitman Strategy Group, a consulting firm that specializes in energy and environmental issues.

Whitman served in the cabinet of President George W. Bush as administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Prior to that, she served as the first female governor of New Jersey.

As governor, Whitman earned praise from both Republicans and Democrats for her commitment to preserve a record amount of New Jersey land as permanent green space. As EPA administrator, she promoted environmental improvements and championed regulations requiring non-road diesel engines to reduce sulfur emissions. Under her tenure, the agency established the first federal program to promote redevelopment and reuse of “brownfields.”

Whitman co-chairs Clean and Safe Energy (CASE) and is a member of the board of directors of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Center for Sustainable Shale Development. She is a member of Secretary of State John Kerry’s Foreign Affairs Policy Board, serves on the O’Connor Judicial Selection Advisory Committee, and is a member of the advisory board of the Corporate Eco Forum and of the Joint Ocean Commission Initiative Leadership Council.

Whitman earned a BA from Wheaton College.



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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Past Lecturers


2014 Lecture
“Leading the Way with Courage”
L. Douglas Wilder, Former Governor of Virginia

L. Douglas Wilder achieved a series of firsts during his more than four decades of public service. He was the first African American state senator in Virginia since Reconstruction, reprsenting Richmond from 1969 to 1985. He became the first African American in the United States to be elected governor, leading the Commonwealth of Virginia from 1990 to 1994. He is the grandson of slaves and put himself through college by waiting tables. He earned a law degree from Howard University.

See the video of Douglas Wilder's lecture.

Read an article about Douglas Wilder in Impact.

2013 Lecture
“Insights from a Cabinet Secretary on Leadership and Transformational Change”
The Honorable Ray LaHood, Former US Secretary of Transportation

Ray LaHood served as the U.S. Secretary of Transportation from 2009-2013, leading an agency with more than 55,000 employees and a $70 billion budget that oversees air, maritime, and surface transportation. 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. Before that time, he was chief of staff to US Congressman Robert Michel, and as district administrative assistant to Congressman Thomas Railsback. He also served in the Illinois State Legislature.

Watch an interview with The Honorable Ray LaHood.

Read an article about The Honorable Ray LaHood in Impact.


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