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Donation provides funds for urban management fellowships

September 24, 2007

Citing an important need to provide support for graduate students with aspirations to enter local government, the Pederson Group Inc. has announced it will donate $25,000 for fellowships in the Marvin Andrews Graduate Program in Urban Management in ASU’s School of Public Affairs.

As one of Arizona’s largest retail development companies, the Pederson Group has worked closely with a number of local municipalities during its 25 years in business “and recognizes the importance of attracting, training and preparing talented individuals to enter the public sector,” says Jim Pederson, founder and chairman of the Phoenix-based company.

The Pederson Group specializes in upscale retail projects and has developed and remodeled more than 25 retail and mixed-use projects in the greater Phoenix area, totaling more than 5 million square feet.

“On a personal note, I care deeply about programs such as this,” Pederson says. “My father was city manager of Casa Grande for 25 years, and as a young man I was intending to become a city manager. After finishing graduate school with a degree in public administration, I worked for the city of Phoenix for two years and had the privilege of getting to know Marvin Andrews.

“As city manager, Marvin was a master of bringing divergent groups together to accomplish objectives that were critical to Phoenix. He served as city manager for 13 years and established Phoenix as one of the country’s most efficiently run cities. It is our hope that this contribution will provide an opportunity for innovative thinkers and visionary leaders to follow in his footsteps.”

The Marvin Andrews program, which was launched last fall, is a competitive national fellowship that attracts some of the country’s most talented graduate students to the ASU School of Public Affairs master’s degree program in public administration.

“The three fellows we select annually are immersed in the latest issues facing urban development,” says Robert Denhardt, director of the ASU School of Public Affairs. “The beauty of this program is that students work alongside seasoned practitioners on urban management and policy projects. Thanks to the Pederson Group, we can continue to expand this powerful leadership pipeline.”

Fellows earn half-time paid internships in various city government offices in the Phoenix metropolitan area, and each are mentored by a top government official. School of Public Affairs professors take a role in the intellectual, professional and personal development of each fellow, and help the students build leadership skills and professional networks.

“The Pederson Group’s generous donation will go a long way toward preparing a new generation of leaders skilled at shaping urban policy,” says Martin Vanacour, director of the Marvin Andrews Graduate Program in Urban Management and professor of practice in the School of Public Affairs. “We are grateful that Jim Pederson recognizes the value of higher education and the public sector’s need for dedicated professionals who honor the legacy of Marvin Andrews. Jim shares our school’s commitment to best practices in the management of urban areas.”