Delaware Gov. Jack Markell discussed the importance of public service in an SPPA speaker series presentation.

Serving the public

SPPA speaker series features Delaware Gov. Jack Markell


3:37 p.m., March 22, 2012--On the heels of the University of Delaware School of Public Policy and Administration’s March 19 conference on “Careers in Public and Community Service,” Delaware Gov. Jack Markell took the stage Tuesday night at the Roselle Center for the Arts to discuss his career and the importance of public service. 

As part of the school’s annual speaker series, with this year’s theme “Leadership, Service and Policy” chosen to reflect its 50-year anniversary, the governor’s talk began by congratulating SPPA on its historic milestone. 

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He then spoke about growing up in Newark, where his father was a professor at UD.  When Markell was 17, his father took a sabbatical and they traveled together throughout Europe and Asia.

The governor recalled how that trip, and seeing the poverty that others endure throughout the world, opened his eyes to the possibility of his life having a greater purpose.  After that point he “knew that he always wanted to serve the public in some fashion.”

Before becoming governor of Delaware in 2008, Markell spent time working in the private sector and then was elected state treasurer for three consecutive terms beginning in 1998.

After discussing his career, the governor spent the majority of the evening taking questions from students.

He spoke candidly about issues in Delaware, such as the implementation of Race to the Top funds, supporting renewable energy and the problems facing the state’s transportation funding.  Markell also addressed issues currently on the national stage such as immigration, women’s health care, and voter identification laws. 

Markell concluded his lecture with a word of advice to students pursuing a career in public service: “Never think that your job is to defend the agency you work for, your job is always to serve the clients of that agency.”

Article by Meredith Seitz

Photos by Evan Krape

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