Valdosta Daily Times

April 18, 2013

Serving the public

VSU honors public administration program

Kay Harris
The Valdosta Daily Times

VALDOSTA — The Public Administration department at Valdosta State University held its annual recognition luncheon Wednesday, honoring the man responsible for the success of the program as well as several award recipients.

Dr. Nolan Argyle, who is retiring at the end of June after 28 years at VSU, was lauded by his peers and former students alike as the pioneer of public administration. City Manager Larry Hanson presented him with a proclamation from the city, and fellow professor Dr. Lee Allen described Argyle as a role model.

“There are two kinds of people — leaders and managers. Dr. Argyle’s both,” Allen said, detailing his work in creating the online masters of public administration degree in 1999, followed by the doctorate degree in 2007.

“He’s a master chess player, and he’s always looking several moves ahead of you. He did the same thing in creating these programs, always looking ahead several semesters to ensure they would run smoothly.”

Argyle was named the public administration coordinator at VSU in 1989 and he has had a hand in teaching the art of governance in the public and private sectors to thousands of students over the years.

Dr. Jim Peterson, chairman of the political science department, said Argyle’s approach to research and his body of work was unique in the field, as he applied the principles of government from Socrates and Aristotle to modern practice.

“Many students have been nourished by his mentoring,” Peterson said.

Dr. Loyce Turner, former state senator, was on hand to present the award that bears his name, the Loyce W. Turner Outstanding Public Official Award. Turner thanked Argyle for his service and said, “It’s very valuable to have VSU graduates working in public service all over the state and everywhere.”

Sementha Mathews, the public information officer for the City of Valdosta, received the Turner award for 2013. She addressed the many changes in the dissemination of information to the public from the government over the years, and the challenges of working with citizens.

“Most of the time when citizens call, even when they’re angry, what they really want is someone willing to listen and understand, and I feel privileged to help them,” she said.

Several students were also honored at the luncheon, including MPA students Daniel Lohr and Joshua Allred, and DPA student Kimberly Gray.

After being surprised by the accolades and the retirement honors, Argyle spoke only briefly at the end of the luncheon, saying, “This is my favorite meeting of the year, when we come together to recognize the students we are here to serve.”