Romney Institute Honors Outstanding Alum

Brigham Young University’s Romney Institute of Public Management honored Karen Suzuki-Okabe with its 2004 N. Dale Wright Outstanding Alumni Award. The Romney Institute presented the award at a banquet held 21 May.

The award is given annually to an alumnus of the BYU Master of Public Administration program who demonstrates extraordinary service and leadership in the work environment, is actively involved in community volunteer activities and maintains a high standard of excellence.

“Karen has been a terrific example for public servants throughout her entire career,” says Romney Institute Director Gary Cornia. “She served with distinction in Salt Lake City and with the state of Utah. She is simply a first-class professional.”

Suzuki-Okabe earned a master’s degree in public administration in 1989 from Brigham Young University. In 1984, she was appointed by Governor Scott Matheson as the director of the State Division of Human Resource Management. She held this position until 1987 when Suzuki-Okabe was appointed by former Mayor Palmer DePaulis as the executive director of the Salt Lake City Department of Human Resource Management and Administrative Services and was reappointed to the state position by Governor Mike Leavitt in 1993. Following her graduation from BYU in 1989, she taught part-time for the Romney Institute for Public Management at BYU until 1998. She is currently an assistant professor of political science at University of Utah.

“I have had a career in public service for over thirty years, most of which was here in Utah,” said Suzuki-Okabe at the banquet held in her honor. “I have had a wonderful time in the public service and would encourage both young and old to consider either employment or volunteering in this sector.”

The outstanding alumni award is named for retired Romney Institute Director and Professor N. Dale Wright.

The Romney Institute of Public Management was named in 1998 for three-term Michigan Governor George W. Romney. Part of BYU’s Marriott School of Management, the Romney Institute offers a master’s degree in public administration through both pre-service and executive programs. The Romney Institute has a long tradition of preparing young people for careers in public service and is dedicated to educating men and women of faith, character and professional ability who will become outstanding managers and leaders in public and not-for-profit institutions worldwide. Brigham Young University is the largest privately owned, church-sponsored university in the United States.

Media Contact: Joseph Ogden (801) 422-8938 or 787-9989
Writer: Lauren Funk (801) 422-1512