McDaniel’s Great Decisions series receives national acclaim

June 19, 2012

McDaniel College’s Great Decisions discussion group was awarded The Frank R. Cella Memorial Award by the Foreign Policy Association (FPA).

The award acknowledges five groups across the country and publicizes their contributions and examples to the rest of the Great Decisions network, which numbers more than 1,000 groups.

The group at McDaniel is coordinated by the Office of Communications & Marketing. Members are civic-minded residents, including retirees who live in the surrounding counties whose professions range from Methodist minister to psychotherapist to eldercare administrator and librarian.

This year the group totaled 115 members, the result of a steady increase since its formation in 2004. The program runs for eight weeks beginning in late January. Members meet once a week at a location on campus.

The Communications and Marketing team, led by associate vice president Joyce Muller, coordinates the logistical arrangements, catering services and registration.

Through extensive connections with the media, foreign-service and think-tank organizations, and the College’s own alumni, Muller recruits speakers to correlate with each chapter in the Great Decisions book distributed by the FPA.

Former speakers include Senior Fellow and director of the National Security Program Melvin Goodman; Dr. Emma Garrison-Alexander, assistant administrator for Information Technology and chief information officer at the Transportation Security Administration; and former ambassador to Indonesia Alphonse LaPorta.

The group continues the discussion in the community and regularly returns to campus to attend public lectures, theatre or music offerings and sports events.

The award is named for the late Frank R. Cella, who worked at the FPA for 13 years to promote the Great Decisions discussion program and support existing group leaders. He also led as many as five discussion groups each year at Institutes for Learning in Retirement, community center, libraries and other locations.

The FPA will post a short profile on their website and feature the winners in the Great Decisions online e-newsletter in the coming weeks.

The winners of the Frank R. Cella Memorial Award 2012 are:
The Sedona Red Rocks Great Decisions Group, Sedona, Ariz.

Great Decisions at St. Mark Presbyterian Church, Newport Beach, Calif.

Great Decisions Series at the Aspen Institute, Aspen, Colo.

McDaniel College Great Decisions Group, Westminster, Md.

Manitowoc Public Library, Manitowoc, Wis.

Special institution recognition: Wyzata High School Student Great Decisions DIscussion Group, Plymouth, Minn.