Master of Public Administration (MPA)
Outstanding Graduate Student
Demonstrating excellence in the classroom, providing leadership on campus and displaying citizenship in the community led Patrick Klugman to being named the 2016 Nels Christiansen Outstanding Graduate Student of the Year.
“I don’t think I’ve ever had a more professional student in the MPA Program,” his nominator said. “He continuously set the standard for the other students.”
The 27-year-old from Dumont, Minn., completed the Master of Public Administration program at the end of December with a nearly perfect GPA, all while working a fulltime job. He came to class straight from work, usually dressed in a button-up shirt and tie.
“Working fulltime and attending night classes was never easy, but always manageable because of the compassion and drive exhibited by all of my professors,” Klugman said.
Beyond his studios nature, Klugman was always willing to offer a helping hand to others, his professor noted.
“Many professors will say they wish they had 10 students just like their favorite student, but if I had 10 students just like Patrick, my job would be far too easy. To say Patrick Klugman is an outstanding student just doesn’t seem to be enough in my opinion,” a faculty member said.
His commitment was clear by the end of his first semester, honing in on a new career goal of a planning-related profession.
“When I think of success, I think of an engaged community that is collaborative and comes together for the betterment of the community,” Klugman said.
It didn’t take long before he was appointed to the Billings Planning Board as well as a graduate assistant. These positions were well executed, a faculty member said, and had no noticeable negative impact to his grades or attitude. “If anything, he became more energized.”
His education and passion helped secure a job with Big Sky Economic Development as its community development project manager, a position he started in March.
“I feel he is just getting started,” his nominator said. “Patrick Klugman is a name we will be seeing a lot of here in Billings.”