University of New Orleans professor John Kiefer was honored with the Donato J. Pugliese Award on Friday, Oct. 6 during the annual meeting of the Southeastern Conference for Public Administration (SECoPA) in Miami, Fla. The Pugliese Award recognizes a senior member of the conference who has made significant contributions to the organization and to the profession of public service.
The annual meeting marks the start of Kiefer taking on the role of conference president. He is the director of UNO’s nationally ranked and professionally accredited master of public administration (MPA) program. Additionally, Kiefer is a professor in the UNO Department of Political Science and a faculty associate at the Center for Hazards Assessment, Response and Technology (CHART), UNO’s applied hazards social science research center.
“I had no idea this was coming,” Kiefer said, because honorees are always kept secret until the annual meeting. According to Kiefer, the Pugliese Award is the highest honor bestowed by the conference to one of its members. Donato J. Pugliese is considered by SECoPA to be the “godfather” of the organization. The award was created after his passing in 1985 to honor his memory and service to the conference and recognize a SECoPA member who demonstrates Mr. Pugliese’s level of commitment to serving and encouraging colleagues.
“I am deeply humbled,” Kiefer added.
Kiefer’s applied research specializes in the development of outcome-focused collaborative networks to create disaster resilience, especially with regard to vulnerable populations. He implemented the hazard policy specialization within UNO’s MPA program and teaches those courses as well as courses in program evaluation.
Kiefer is a past chair and senior advisor to the American Society for Public Administration’s Section on Emergency and Crisis Management. Prior to coming to UNO, Kiefer was a research professor at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Va. He is a retired U.S. Marine Corps officer.
The Southeastern Conference for Public Administration, the largest regional professional association for public administrators, enhances the public service field in the Southeast by providing opportunities for scholarly and practice-based exchanges, professional networking and leadership development.