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Editor’s note: This is part of a series of profiles for spring 2017 commencement. See more graduates here.
If there’s a checklist for a career in public service, Blaise Caudill has all the boxes marked with three asterisks next to his name.
Caudill is an exemplary graduate student with a 4.0 GPA. He has considerable experience working on local government issues as a student and an intern. He’s active as a leader in student and community organizations. And he brings a level of enthusiasm that separates him for his peers.
That’s why the School of Public Affairs, in the College of Public Service and Community Solutions in downtown Phoenix, has named Caudill the spring 2017 outstanding graduate.
While pursuing a master’s degree in public administration, Caudill volunteered as student chapter president of the International City/County Management Association and served as a management intern for the city of Goodyear. He was also one of a handful of students selected each year to serve as a Marvin Andrews Fellows, a program designed to train the next generation of municipal leaders. The fellowship included working as a paid research and management intern for the Alliance for Innovation.
“My experience with ASU, in particular, the Marvin Andrews Fellowship, provided the avenues for me to explore government and work in public administration,” Caudill said. “I have been able to connect with working and retired professionals in ways that I could not have otherwise imagined.”
As president of International City/County Management, Caudill worked diligently to improve the organization’s reach to students and professionals.
“This year, we were really able to boost the work done by the organization to be more inclusive, more engaging for students and professionals, and to advertise in ways we have never done before,” he said. “We have had a record number of events with more professionals engaged than ever before.”
George Pettit isn’t surprised. As director of the Marvin Andrews Fellowship in Urban Management, he said what sets Caudill apart from others is his energy and passion to make a difference.
“It’s just a desire to serve and listen to others in order to make government responsive,” Pettit said.
Caudill credits his mother, who as a single parent and school teacher, instilled the value of public service and education. His mom pushed Caudill and his siblings to earn their college degrees.
As an undergraduate student majoring in international relations and affairs at Northern Arizona University, Caudill was heavily involved in school and community organizations and was recognized with the President’s Prize, the highest recognition awarded to graduating students. Caudill has continued his legacy of involvement at ASU. He serves on the national board of governors for the Human Rights Campaign, the world's largest LGBTQ advocacy organization.
“As part of my service to ensure equal protections for all people, I connect Arizonans with opportunities to volunteer with the organization and provide the tools and training necessary for volunteers to feel prepared and a part of a larger movement,” Caudill said.
The Tucson native considers graduate school much like a dress rehearsal for his career. And a successful one at that. After graduation, he will begin his professional career as an assistant to Mesa city councilman Jeremy Whittaker.
“I know my studies and the connections I made through ASU and the School of Public Affairs provided me with the tools I will need to succeed in my new position with the city of Mesa,” he said. “I love Arizona — we are one of the most diverse, beautiful, and unique states in the nation. I am looking forward to serving our Arizona community in any way that I can.”
Written by Bryce Newberry, contributing writer