Alumni Honorees

Carol B. ZarCarol B. Zar

M.A. Public Affairs, 1981


Carol Zar has served the university and added to its luster by representing Northern to off-campus organizations and contributing to the development of its public administration program.

Her primary contributions came as a member of the staff of the NIU Center for Governmental Studies which she joined as a research associate in 1980. As project director of the Center’s contract to provide secretariat service to the Illinois City/County Management Association, her performance was so outstanding that she was soon designated executive director of the organization while continuing to serve full time as a CGS research associate.

As word spread, other local government management and public service organizations asked Zar to provide similar services, creating an entirely new avenue of opportunity for the Center. Zar not only made NIU the dominant center for local government management in Illinois, she also became a mentor to other similar organizations around the country. She became the Center’s assistant director in 2002.

Zar’s contributions to the College’s graduate program in Public Administration are equally impressive. As Intern Coordinator for the Division of Public Administration from 1980-1984, she developed the parameters for that position that continue to this day. She played an especially important role in encouraging more women to pursue careers in local government management. She served as president of the program’s alumni organization until 1998.