UNT public administration students earn prestigious educational fellowships with Texas City Management Association   

 The Clarence E. Ridley Scholarship is awarded to only two Texas graduate students per year.

DENTON (UNT), Texas – Christopher Byrd and Sylvia Ordeman, both first-year master of public administration students in the University of North Texas College of Health and Public Service, have earned the coveted Clarence E. Ridley Scholarship from the Texas City Management Association (TCMA). They each received $3,500 to use for tuition. In addition, UNT will receive $3,000 in credit toward Texas City Management Association and Texas Municipal League (TML) education events.

“I am ecstatic to have received this scholarship and greatly appreciative of the Texas City Management Association for this honor,” Byrd said. “I am also eagerly looking forward to attending TCMA's various events and conferences over the next year in order to further prepare myself for a career in public management and administration.”

Byrd, who is a graduate assistant within the Department of Public Administration and a student assistant in the office of Scholarly Communication within University Libraries, says the scholarship will allow him to pursue invaluable professional development and learning opportunities outside the classroom.

“I will be able to attend various city management seminars and conferences, further enriching my education and preparing me for public management,” Byrd said. “Further, this scholarship will provide me with greater freedom upon graduating by reducing my student debt load, thereby allowing me to more heavily base my ultimate decision of employment on where my ability to serve and positively impact others can be most effectively rendered.”

Ordeman also works as a graduate research assistant in the Department of Public Administration and says she’s grateful for the honor.

“To me, this award further solidifies my drive and passion for public service and community development through effective city management,” Ordeman said. “I am incredibly thankful to both TCMA for investing in the education of up-and-coming city management professionals and to the UNT public administration department for their complete encouragement in pursuing this award.”

Ordeman says the scholarship will help alleviate some of the stress over her educational financial burdens.

“The scholarship will allow me the opportunity of continuing my graduate studies on a full-time basis without incurring student debt,” Ordeman said. “Furthermore, I am so excited to participate in TCMA's upcoming educational and networking events and join their extensive network of knowledgeable local government professionals.”

Dr. Neale Chumbler, dean of the college, says he’s proud of their accomplishments.

“Christopher and Sylvia are both a shining example of the quality of education in our MPA program,” Dr. Chumbler said. “I know they will take full advantage of the opportunities afforded by this scholarship and I look forward to seeing their many accomplishments in public administration.” 

Both Byrd and Ordeman expect to graduate in May of 2020.