Deil S. Wright


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.


In 2002, the MPA Alumni Association honored Professor Deil Wright for his 34 years of teaching MPA students by creating the Deil S. Wright Lecture in Public Administration. Each year, a distinguished professional from the field of public administration enriches the educational experience of students, alumni, faculty, and interested members of the community.



2019 Lecture

"States Divided: How the Invention That United the Nation Is Driving It Apart"

Dr. Donald F. Kettl

3:30-4:45 p.m., Thursday, April 4, 2019
School of Government

Donald F. Kettl is professor at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs, at the University of Texas at Austin. He is also a nonresident senior fellow at the Volcker Alliance and the Brookings Institution. Kettl is the author and editor of numerous books, including three that won national best-book awards: The Transformation of Governance (2002), System under Stress: Homeland Security and American Politics (2005), and Escaping Jurassic Government: How to Recover America’s Lost Commitment to Competence (2016). Kettl has consulted broadly for government organizations at all levels, he has appeared frequently in national and international media, and he is a regular columnist for Governing magazine.

See video of Don Kettl's lecture.



2018 Lecture

"Fixing Our Broken Policy Process: The Case for Bipartisan Consensus on Economic Policy"

Alice M. Rivlin, Founding Director of the Congressional Budget Office

Alice M. Rivlin is a senior fellow in the Economic Studies Program and the Center for Health Policy at the Brookings Institution and a visiting professor at the McCourt School of Public Policy at Georgetown University. Rivlin served as director of the Office Management and Budget (OMB) in the first Clinton Administration and formerly served as vice chair of the Federal Reserve Board. She was the founding director of the Congressional Budget Office and served as chair of the District of Columbia Financial Management and Assistance Authority.

See video of Alice Rivlin's lecture.

See video of presentations made by Carolina MPA alumni and students.


2017 Lecture

"If You Can't Say Something Nice . . ."

Margaret Spellings, President, University of North Carolina

Nationally known as an education thought leader and public policy expert, Spellings served as president of the George W. Bush Presidential Center in Dallas, Texas; as president and CEO of Margaret Spellings & Company; president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation. She served as the U.S. Secretary of Education, overseeing the creation of the Spellings Commission Report on Higher Education, which recommended a national strategy to guide colleges and universities in preparing students for the 21st-century workforce, and implementing No Child Left Behind Act.

See the video of President Spellings' lecture.


2015 Lecture

"What is Leadership?"

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

Christine Todd Whitman served in the cabineet of President George W. Bush as administrator of the EPA. Prior to that, she served as New Jersey's first female governor. As governor, she 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 nom-road diesel engines to reduce sulfur emissions and helped to establish the first federal program to promote redevelopment and reuse of "brownfields."


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, representing 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. The grandson of slaves, he 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 a district administrative assistant to Congressman Thomas Railsback. He also served in the Illinois State Legislature.

See the video of The Honorable Ray LaHood's Lecture.

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, President, International City County Management Ascociation


2002 Lecture

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

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