L. Douglas Wilder, 66th Governor of Virginia
I am particularly pleased to participate in this year’s Excellence in Virginia Government Awards (EVGA) event.  This initiative was installed years ago by former Dean, Dr. Bob Holsworth, with the enthusiastic support from former President Eugene Trani and his administration.
Dean Susan T. Gooden has pursued this course and has contributed greatly leading to a national ranking of No. 35 in public affairs graduate programs.  I am proud that this ranking places us as the top school in Virginia.  Wilder School Dean Susan Gooden’s op-ed, “Showcasing the ‘excellence’ in Virginia government”,  published in the Richmond Times-Dispatch illustrates the importance of recognizing community leaders.
Nothing is more essential in today’s society than leadership.  EVGA is a wonderful way to highlight and show appreciation to the leaders in the commonwealth. Often ignored, and for the most part taken for granted these public servants have been an integral part of the polity.
Our schools and universities were fashioned to be the factories for leadership, in teaching how government — at all levels — might more expertly deal with problems in education, health, criminal justice and public safety.
The group of awardees is an inclusive group; elected and/or appointed officials, unsung heroes, those who have given a lifetime of service and/or groups of those whose actions militate to that end.  This year’s awardees exemplify that mold.
I have participated in these events beginning with my tenure as state senator and now, in my present service as Distinguished Professor at VCU.  The ceremony honoring these individuals will take place Tuesday, April 26, at the Richmond Marriott.  I invite you to learn more about the event and award recipients.
We can do more than watch things happen, we can make them happen.
Stay tuned.
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