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Planning Council President Suzanne Puryear Tapped as Business College’s Public Service Week Speaker

In her 40 years in the human services arena, Suzanne Puryear has worked at the state and local levels in the public, private and nonprofit sectors.

Throughout her career, the Old Dominion University graduate (with a B.S. in political science and a master's in public administration) has retained an abiding desire to embody true public service in her professional and volunteer life.

The president of The Planning Council, a regional nonprofit organization that has been planning, developing and managing human services programs for more than 70 years, Puryear will give the Landmark Executive-in-Residence Public Service Lecture on Tuesday, Feb. 4.

Puryear will speak from 12:30-1:20 p.m. in 1005 Constant Hall. The event is free and open to the campus community. Pizza and beverages will be provided.

The address is the signature event of Public Service Week, launched by the College of Business and Public Administration (CBPA) in 2009 in response to President Barack Obama's 2009 "call to service," and involves many academic departments and organizations at the university. Its goal is to shine a spotlight on the need for community engagement and the opportunities that exist to help improve our communities.

Public Service Week has carved out a niche on campus, providing well-regarded guest speakers during a week of unique programming that aims to embrace ODU's mission as a metropolitan university with a community focus.

The annual event wasn't held in its usual late October/early November time slot, due to scheduling conflicts, but organizers say Public Service Week will be back, better than ever, the week of February 3-7.

Other events planned for the week include an academic guest speaker with a public service interest, and a public service volunteer activity.

Events and activities of Public Service Week are sponsored by the CBPA, the Department of Urban Studies and Public Administration, the Career Management Center, the Alumni Association, the doctoral public administration student group PAUPers and the MPA Association.

For more information about Public Service Week, or the CBPA's minor in public service, email publicservice@odu.edu.

Puryear has served as assistant director of the Eastern Regional Office of the Virginia Department of Social Services, director of the Norfolk Department of Human Services and administrator of First Home Care (a private, community-based child and family services corporation).

In addition to her current responsibilities with The Planning Council, she assists nonprofit organizations and public agencies in strategic planning, program design and assessment, and leadership development.

Puryear is an alumna of the Senior Executive Institute (in the Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service, University of Virginia) and the CIVIC Leadership Institute. She is the immediate past president of the National Association of Planning Councils and is a member of the National 211US Steering Committee. She serves the community on a number of boards, including Norfolk CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates), the Future of Hampton Roads, Tidewater Pastoral Counseling, the Hampton Roads Center for Civic Engagement and Westminster-Canterbury on Chesapeake Bay.

At her Feb. 4 Landmark Executive-in-Residence address, Puryear will also receive the College of Business and Public Administration's annual Achievement in Public Service Award.

The ODU business college's Landmark Executive-in-Residence speaker series is designed to enrich students' entrepreneurial spirit, their awareness of the success that can be built on their academic experience and their understanding of the importance of leading with integrity.

The program is dedicated to bringing accomplished business leaders, many of whom are ODU alumni, to campus to share their history and vision, giving students the opportunity to learn firsthand the strategies and experiences that forge great ethical global leaders.

Established in 2001, the Landmark Executive-in-Residence program is funded by an endowment from a group of former Landmark Communications executives in honor of Frank Batten Sr., former chairman of the executive committee of the Landmark board and the first rector of the ODU Board of Visitors.

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