Alumni Stories

We are celebrating our 50th Anniversary with your stories.  Below are some of the memories submitted by alumni and faculty.

Please tell us about your experiences at NIU.  Remember funny classmates, tests, late night study sessions and incredible internships?  Share your stories here and we will post them.




How the alphabet helped me in Grad School…

As I stood in line during graduation outside Cole Hall in the spring of 1983, I struck up a conversation with the young woman behind me.  Denise Pultorak, now Burchard, and I chatted as we waited for our processional into the building.  I had applied for grad school at NIU and Sangamon State (now University of Illinois-Springfield).  We talked about law school as an option and then circled back to the MAPA program.  Denise was pretty excited about the opportunity – it was contagious.  Somehow along the way, we started at NIU, competed for internship opportunities (yes, she got the Western Springs position), and we ended up as room-mates and great friends.  We were joined in our unusual boarding house type of living quarters by Laura Carnaghi, now Ramirez.

I am thankful that fate and the alphabet had a hand in my choice of NIU MPA, and ever grateful that through my education, I made lifelong friends and can have a positive impact on people’slives through our profession.

Kathleen Rush
Village Administrator
Woodridge, Illinois


NIU has enjoyed the long standing support from the Village of Western Springs.  Here is Lucy Carter Fulton Smith (Intern from 6-9-08 to 3-11-11), Patrick Higgins and Ingrid Velkme enjoying the bonfier at the village’s 125th celebration.

Group at a bonfire



Below is a copy of the April, 1966 Public Management magazine cover. These are students in the class I graduated with in 1967. Page 108 of the magazine contains an article about Dr. Banovetz and the program. I am the character in the center of the group on the cover.

Frank D. Wanto, MPA August, '67

Cover of magazine with students at a table



"Political Science the way God intended..."

Dr. Paul Culhane

Group in a canoe paddling