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Dr. Jerome Lewis is the 2020 receipient of the Academic Award in Memory of Stephen B. Sweeney, from the International City/County Management Association.
Dr. Jerome R. Lewis, Director of the Institute for Public Administration in the Joseph R. Biden, Jr. School of Public Policy and Administration will be honored by ICMA, the International City/County Management Association, as the recipient of the organization's Academic Award in Memory of Stephen B. Sweeney.
Established in the name of the longtime director of the University of Pennsylvania's Fels Institute of Government, ICMA's Academic Award in Memory of Stephen B. Sweeney is presented to an academic leader or institution that has made a significant contribution to the formal education of students pursuing careers in local government. Dr. Lewis will be honored along with the other professional award recipients during ICMA's 2020 UNITE: A Digital Event, on Thursday, September 24, for which he recorded this acceptance speech.
At an age when most people are decades into their retirement, Dr. Jerome Lewis continues to innovate and inspire a new generation of public administratorsincluding local government professionals. In fact, the word retirement is not even in Dr. Lewis's lexicon. He quietly marks a half-century of public service at the University of Delaware (UD) and remains active teaching, mentoring, and leading several programs in his octogenarian years.
Dr. Lewis is an exceptional leader who is widely recognized for his contributions to developing public service professionals and the policy, planning, and management needs of various partners throughout the state of Delaware. In his nomination of Dr. Lewis for his 2011 Public Service Achievement Award, Dr. Jeffrey Raffel, former professor at UD and board member for Common Cause Delaware, said,
Under Dr. Lewis's leadership, IPA has a strong record of engaging graduate and undergraduate students in research and technical assistance projects on topics in fields such as water resources, transportation, education, women's leadership, conflict resolution, planning and economic development, and democracythat is, just about every issue critical to Delaware in the last four decades.
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The ICMA Local Government Excellence Awards Program highlights creative contributions to professional local government management while demonstrating the difference that kind of management makes to the quality of life in our communities. ICMA's Professional Awards honor individual achievement by outstanding chief administrative officers, assistant administrators, academics, and others that may have been accomplished through tenure with a number of local governments or organizations. Nominations are evaluated by an independent, 17-person panel of ICMA members.
We congratulate the recipients of our 2020 Professional Awards, says ICMA Executive Marc A. Ott. The men and women recognized this year set the standard for innovation, effectiveness, and creativity in the cities, towns, counties, and academic institutions they lead. We thank them for their commitment to improving the lives of the constituents they serve every day.
Dr. Lewis supports opportunities for students to receive real world experience during their colleage careers. He's pictured here with the 2019 Local Government Management Fellows, who spent the summer interning with municipalities throughout Delaware.
Dr. Lewis joined the university faculty in 1969 and four years later founded the Institute for Public Administration (IPA). In 1975, he helped establish UD's well-regarded Master of Public Administration (MPA) program and became its director. He also established the Local Government Training Program to build the capacity of local leaders, supported the launch of an ICMA student chapter in 2018, and founded several fellowship programs.
In 1982, Dr. Lewis created the Legislative Fellows Program, a flagship internship program that links the research needs of the state legislature with university students, who work directly with legislators on complex public policy issues.
The ICMA Student Chapter won first place in ICMA's best student chapter event contest in 2019 for its tour of the Rehoboth Beach municipal complex. The chapter broke the mold with its submission, creating a Web page to showcase the event.
Dr. Lewis launched the summer Local Government Management Fellows (LGMF) Program as a career development opportunity for talented emerging professionals. It enables students to translate a passion for public service into practice through placements with city and town managers in Delaware.
He has received numerous awards and accolades. In 1998, he received NASPAA's Elmer B. Staats Public Service Career Award, which recognizes faculty who inspire students to pursue public service careers. In 2004, the Ratledge family presented him with its Award for Delaware Public Service, which honors individuals who exemplify excellence in public service to Delaware citizens. The Delaware Senate and House of Representatives honored him for his dedication to public service, specifically his founding of the Legislative Fellows Program. In 2011, he received the Public Service Achievement Award from Common Cause. And in 2017, he received ASPA's Elmer B. Staats Lifetime Achievement Award for Distinguished Public Service.
ICMA, the International City/County Management Association, advances professional local government worldwide. Our mission is to create excellence in local governance by developing and fostering professional management to build livable communities that improve people's lives. ICMA provides member support; publications; data and information; peer and results-oriented assistance; and training and professional development to nearly 13,000 city, town, and county experts and other individuals and organizations throughout the world. The management decisions made by ICMA's members affect millions of individuals living in thousands of communities, from small villages and towns to large metropolitan areas.