• Women in Public Service Lifetime Achievement Award

    In 2012, the Hamline University public administration programs and Center for Public Administration and Leadership (CPAL) announced the creation of the “Women in Public Service Lifetime Achievement Award.” This annual award is designed to recognize women who have made a lifetime commitment to serving the public good.

    Nomination Form  

    Past Recipients


    Kit Hadley

    Kit Hadley recently retired as director of the Saint Paul Public Library. During her six-year tenure, she strengthened learning initiatives, expanded multi-language and community-based services, and completed renovations at several libraries. She was the executive director of Heading Home Minnesota, a statewide campaign to end homelessness and director of the Minneapolis Public Library from 2003 to 2007. At the Minneapolis Public Library, she led initiatives to strengthen literacy efforts, complete the construction of the new Central Library, and secure approval to merge the Minneapolis Public and Hennepin County Libraries. Prior to joining the library, she was appointed as the commissioner of the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency from 1994 to 2002. She has served on the boards of the Saint Paul Public Housing Agency, Minneapolis Foundation, Hearth Connection, Preservation of Affordable Housing, Youthprise, and St. Paul Youth Services. She is currently on the Legal Services Advisory Committee.

    sharon sayles belton, 2014 WOMEN IN PUBLIC SERVICE AWARD RECIPIENT

    Sharon Sayles Belton

    Sharon Sayles Belton is vice president of Government Affairs and Community Relations for Thomson Reuters, Legal. Prior to joining Thomson Reuters, Sharon served as director of Community Relations and Corporate Philanthropy at GMAC Financial Services. Sharon served as mayor of Minneapolis from 1994 to 2001. She was the first woman and first African American to be elected mayor. During her time in office, she achieved national recognition as an expert on public/private partnerships in public safety, neighborhood revitalization and economic development. She served on the Minneapolis City Council for 10 years and was council president from 1990-1994. Sayles Belton began her career with the Minnesota Department of Corrections as a Parole Officer and was promoted to Assistant Director of the Minnesota Program for Victims of Sexual Assault. Sharon completed the Executive Leadership Institute, Harvard University (1988) and graduated from Macalester College. She is a Senior Fellow at the University of Minnesota, Hubert H. Humphrey Institute and a Fellow at the National Academy of Public Administration.

    Desyl Peterson, 2013 Women in Public Service Award Recipient

    WIPS: Desyl Peterson

    Desyl Peterson was Minnetonka’s full-time city attorney for more than 28 years, but her influence and commitment to public service extended beyond that city’s boundaries. Over the years, she trained countless newly elected city council members, planning commission members, and municipal employees throughout the state. Desyl acted as a mentor to other city attorneys, offering counsel and sharing ideas. Her innovative solutions to difficult legal issues were often copied. She also lent her time and expertise to other cities, facilitating two merger study commissions for four cities, successfully mediating a complex dispute between two others, and serving on the League of Minnesota Cities Board of Directors and the League’s Insurance Trust Board of Trustees. Desyl is a past recipient of the Public Attorney Award of Excellence from the Minnesota State Bar Association and the Distinguished Public Service Award from the International Municipal Lawyers Association.

    Ruby Hunt, 2012 Women in Public Service Award Recipient

    WIPS: Ruby Hunt

    The first recipient of the award, Ruby Hunt, truly exemplifies the spirit the award is meant to convey. Ruby, a former St. Paul City Council Member and Ramsey County Commissioner has a deep passion for good governance and social justice. She was a quiet leader who played a vital role in such key actions as passing the St. Paul charter, establishment of the Ramsey County manager position, establishment of Regions Hospital and development of the central corridor transit system. Ruby dedicated her lifework to the common good and even in retirement continues to fight for good governance and social justice.

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