The LBJ School of Public Affairs and the LBJ School National Alumni Board are pleased to announce the 26th recipient of the Distinguished Public Service Award (DPSA): Laura Huffman, a 1991 graduate with a Master in Public Affairs.
Huffman was nominated by three alumni who have worked with or known her for many years. In their letter of nomination, they wrote, "Laura is an accomplished public servant and community servant. In the true spirit of LBJ himself, Laura knows how to get things done, and she does so effectively and gracefully. She is the epitome of a successful LBJ School graduate."
"Laura Huffman is an exemplar of what it means to dedicate oneself to advancing the public good." — Dean Angela Evans
Huffman was the deputy city manager of San Marcos from 1994 to 2002, and then assistant city manager of Austin until 2008. Her local government public service has been lauded as some of the most critical city initiatives "involving reengineering service delivery, negotiating major economic development deals and handling both public and labor relations."
Since 2008, Huffman has been the state director of The Nature Conservancy in Texas, where she heads a statewide team of scientists, conservation experts and support staff whose work protects the integrity of Texas's vast natural resources and most iconic landscapes. She has been praised for being one of the most credible voices on water issues in the nongovernmental sector in Texas; for her work which has "immeasurably improved the state of natural resources in Texas"; and for transforming strategies for "freshwater, marine science and land protection" which led to "major victories on every front."
Huffman also is founding director of the Conservancy's North America Cities program, created to support cities as they integrate natural infrastructure into local planning and development initiatives in ways that safeguard people and reduce vulnerability to climate change.
In addition to her inspiring contributions to public policy over the last two decades, Huffman has written more than 30 articles and op-ed pieces on topics including drought, water scarcity and Gulf of Mexico protection. She has been active in community service, serving on numbers boards including: League of Conservation Voters; Ballet Austin; and the South by Southwest ECO Advisory Board. She also continues to mentor current and past students, and has hired LBJ School interns and alumni.
Dean Angela Evans wrote:
Laura Huffman is an exemplar of what it means to dedicate oneself to advancing the public good. She has applied her many talents to take on complex societal problems with passion and creativity. We in the LBJ School community are so very proud of Laura and congratulate her on this well-deserved honor.
Huffman holds B.S. in political science from Texas A&M University in addition to her Master of Public Affairs degree from the LBJ School.
She will be presented with the Distinguished Public Service Award at a ceremony held at the LBJ School in Austin this August 2016.
The LBJ School DPSA was established in 1989 and is presented to LBJ School graduates whose careers and public service record best represent the values on which the School was founded. The 2016 DPSA Selection Committee was composed of Moses Garcia (MPAff '05), chair of the LBJ School Alumni Board Alumni Reunion & Recognition Committee; David Warner, LBJ School professor; Jon Gillum (MPAff '02); Kimberly Springer (MPAff '04); Norm Linsky (MPAff '77); Mike Naeve (MPAff '72); and Lauren Oertel (MGPS '12).