2024 Annual UNT MPA Alumni-Student Conference

Leaving a Legacy: Greater, Better and More Beautiful

April 12, 2024

University of North Texas Gateway Center
801 North Texas Blvd.
Denton, Texas


Keynote Speaker: Robert L. (Bob) Bland, Ph.D.
UNT Endowed Professor of Local Government (Retiring in 2024)

Robert L. (Bob) Bland is the Endowed Professor of Local Government in the Department of Public Administration in the College of Health and Public Service. He teaches courses in public economics, governmental accounting, and budgeting. He has been on the faculty at UNT since 1982 and served for 21 years as the department’s first chair. In 2019-20, he served as interim chair of the Department of Criminal Justice. He is the author of several books, all published by the International City/County Management Association (ICMA) including, with Michael Overton, A Budgeting Guide for Local Government (4th edition). He studies and writes about the municipal bond market, property taxation, tax increment financing, local government investment pools, municipal budgeting, and city management. He is the recipient of the first Terrell Blodgett Academician Award given by the Texas City Management Association and the Stephen B. Sweeney Academic Award from ICMA. Since 2012, he has been an elected fellow in the Congressionally chartered National Academy of Public Administration. In 2017, he was elected an Honorary Member of ICMA. On four occasions he has been the recipient of the Outstanding Professor of the Year Award given by the MPA Student Association. In 2020, he was elected vice chair of the Association for Budgeting and Financial Management (ABFM) and in 2022 served as the association’s chair. In 2023, he received the UNT Foundation’s Eminent Faculty Award, one of the university’s highest faculty honors. The annual award recognizes a faculty member who has made outstanding and sustained contributions to scholarly-creative activity, teaching, and service and has served as an inspiration to the University of North Texas community. He currently serves as ABFM’s representative on the Governmental Accounting Standards Advisory Council.

Friday, April 12, 2024 Schedule 8 a.m. - 3 p.m.
8-9 a.m. Mock Interviews
Networking & Sponsor Tables
9-10:15 a.m.

Concurrent Sessions

  • Panel: Succession Planning and Leadership Development for Organizational Success
  • Panel: The Scary Side of Innovation: Turning Dreams Into Policy
10:30-11:30 a.m.

Concurrent Sessions

  • Panel: Fostering the Future: Building Capacity with Intergovernmental Partnerships
  • Panel: Actionable Strategies for Growing Tomorrow's Leaders
11:45 a.m.-1 p.m. Luncheon and Chester A. Newland Colloquium Address: Robert L. (Bob) Bland, Ph.D., UNT Endowed Professor of Local Government - Passing the Baton: Reaffirming the MPA Program’s Continued Success in Its Mission of Preparing Leaders for Public Service
1:15-3 p.m. PADM Dessert Reception
3 p.m. PASA Reception and Networking
East Side Denton, 117 East Oak Street, Denton, Texas

Featured speakers:

  • Pat Smith, Serve Denton, Chief Executive Officer
  • Ashleigh Feryan, City of Lewisville, Neighborhood Services Manager
  • Christianne Simmons, City of Fort Worth, Chief Transformation Officer
  • Traci Leach, City of Coppell, Deputy City Manager
  • Marcia Reyna, City of Keller, Director of Human Resources
  • Chance Willeford, Town of Northlake, Administrative Services Director
  • Joe Mazzola, City of McKinney, Organizational Development Director
  • LaShon Ross, City of Plano, Director of Human Resources/Risk Management
  • Janay Tieken, Jet Development, Principal


Conference Sponsors



Gold Sponsors          
Silver Sponsors        
Green Sponsors
Municipal Sponsor  

Sponsor Videos

EVENT SPONSOR $7,500 or $10,000 (only ONE available)

All Gold Sponsor benefits

3-minute speaking opportunity during lunch

Opportunity to host a concurrent breakout session

  • Reserved table for 8 at the luncheon
  • 30-second sponsor video on event website & played at luncheon
  • Recognition as Gold Sponsor in web article & social media
  • Logo on event signage, video screens & event website
  • Recognition on table signage
  • Booth space with table during conference
  • Dessert reception recognition following luncheon
  • Reserved table for 4 individual tickets at the luncheon
  • Recognition as a Silver Sponsor in web article & social media
  • Logo in event signage, video screens & event website
  • Recognition on table signage
  • Booth space with table during conference
  • 4 individual tickets at the luncheon
  • Logo on event website
  • Recognition on table signage
  • • Booth space with table during conference
  • 4 individual tickets at the luncheon
  • Logo on event website
  • Recognition on table signage
  • Individual Tickets before April 5 - $40
  • Individual Tickets beginning April 5 - $60
  • UNT Student Tickets (Student ID required)- $10

For sponsorship or ticket registration, click here. All event proceeds will benefit the MPA Excellence Fund. For questions, contact Bob Bland at or, or call 940-565-4339.

Your sponsorship may be considered tax-deductible. Please consult your tax advisor for more details.