Monday, April 04, 2011

Garth N. Jones Writing Award

A while ago Andrew got an email announcing a writing contest open to all MPA students. He's taking 21.5 credits this semester, which means he's a little pressed for time (hello, understatement of the year) but since there was a cash prize he figured he should enter. There was nothing in the rules about using a paper written for a class, so Andrew took the criteria for the essay contest and the criteria for one of his final papers, combined them and wrote a stellar 10-ish page paper about the managerial style of Mubarak and how it contributed to the collapse of his regime. (Click here to read it...if you want).

He never heard back about the contest, and since the awards banquet was coming up we just figured that he didn't win and we wouldn't be going to the banquet, even though it was a stellar paper and he got 100% on it when he turned it in for class (my husband is so smart). 

On Tuesday, however, he got called into the office. They had looked over the list of banquet attendees and noticed that he wasn't on it. They informed him that he had to come because he had won the writing contest. 

So we had to go to a nice banquet on Thursday evening. Shucks. 

Since it was supposed to be a surprise—the awards banquet is typically for second year students, all of whom attend, but the contest was open to first year students as well so they had to tell us that Andrew won so that we would come—we had to keep it on the down low for a few days.

Dr. Hart presenting Andrew with his certificate

The banquet was wonderful. We sat with the donors of our award—the Jones family.

The award was "named for Dr. Garth N. Jones who had a distinguished career in public administration as an educator, a national and international public manager, a prolific author, and a practitioner in many public and community service activities. The award was established in 2004 by G. Kevin Jones to honor the life and professional career of his father."*

Garth N. Jones was in foreign service and, to my understanding, later entered academia as a professor when he was no longer able to live abroad due to the health of one of his children. He spent the majority of his expatriate life in Pakistan and Indonesia. Garth was raised by a single mom—his father left the family during the Great Depression and never came back—in a small Utah town. He had a poor childhood but upon graduating from high school was offered a $100 scholarship (from Sears, I believe) and that changed the whole projection of his life. He was able to go to school—the University of Utah—and eventually got his PhD. He's quite a remarkable man.

It was fun to get to visit with him and his sons. Garth took Andrew's contact information so that he could get in touch with him regarding the possibility of publishing his paper. He called us on Saturday morning to inform Andrew that he was sending Andrew's paper into his editor. What a nice man; we didn't expect him to follow up on us so soon!

I'm so proud of Andrew for all the hard work he does. I don't know how he's managed to keep on top of everything this semester but however he's doing it he's doing it well. I can't believe that this semester is almost over—it means that Andrew's graduation is only a year away (don't worry; it's already on the calendar...I put it there myself) and then we'll enter the real world and find a real job (inshallah), the prospect of which is both exciting and scary.

Actually, the prospect of having a real job isn't scary. It's the job-hunting part that scares me. 

If Andrew could hide in grad school forever he probably would, but the truth of the matter is that he's industrious, clever, and charming and he deserves a job. Also I kind of want him to not do homework until 2:00 AM everyday. I hear that life on the "other side" of grad school is nice. 

I want to prove that theory for myself, though, so we kind of definitely need to find a post-graduation job. Then, if we don't like it there's always more school: PhD, JD, MBA...

Hahaha. No. I kid, I kid. 

* From the 2011 Administrator of the Year graduation & awards banquet progam


  1. Congratulations!! That sounds like a really interesting (and timely) paper. Good job.

  2. Blogger doesn't automatically create URLs…

    If anyone's interested, here's the full thing.

  3. So great! Congratulations all around! Also, I think it's funny that they had to bribe you with a big fancy pants reward to get you to eat dinner. THAT is pressed for time. :D

  4. Well, tickets were $15 a $30 meal? That's a little out of our budget...unless there is a big fancy pants award that goes with it. Also...they paid for us to go, so who can say no to that?

  5. Dude! A $30 meal for two? Rich people are rich. And I'm glad that these ones are willing to share the wealth. :)

  6. Yeah, so about me claiming that we'd be finished with school after this degree...bahaha.