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The John and Carol Nalbandian Scholarship

The John and Carol Nalbandian Scholarship will support MPA students preparing for careers in local government. Thanks to the generosity of numerous alumni and friends of the KU MPA program, the scholarship has reached full endowment status. The very first award will be made to a member of the KU MPA class of 2016.

The myriad of contributions John and Carol have made to students, local government professionals,and elected officials over the past five decades are legendary. Through their teaching, their work with local governments, and as citizen volunteers, they have exemplified the spirit of public service, bringing credit to themselves, the School and the University of Kansas.

Previously, John Nalbandian established a scholarship in his father’s name, The Harry Nalbandian Scholarship, which supports MPA students in the School of Public Affairs and Administration.

“My father was a career civil servant for the California Employee Development Department,” John said. “That gift was a way to honor him. He embodied the concept of public service.”

Inspired by his father’s example, John chose to enter public service, serving in the U.S. Army from 1967-71, which he describes as “my first full-time public service job, and my first full-time permanent job.” John then earned his Ph.D. in Public Administration,
and came to KU in 1976. In addition to his academic duties, John served on the Lawrence City Commission from 1991 to 1999, including two terms as mayor.

Carol Nalbandian earned her Ph.D. at KU, specializing in Communications Studies, with an emphasis on organizational psychology. She was a senior consultant and director of the Menninger Leadership Center in Topeka, where she worked with executives from both the private and public sectors. She played an integral role in developing and delivering the Center’s nationally renowned executive development seminars. She was also the director of management programs at the University of Kansas School of Business.

Carol has extensive experience in the areas of organizational development, interpersonal communication, change management, leadership development, and team building. Carol consults with local elected officials, as well as with senior staff in the areas of strategic planning, goal setting, team building, and communication. She has also provided mediation and coaching to all levels of employees. She has written articles on stress management, leadership, surviving job loss, and appreciating diversity.