Sometimes in life, you’re lucky enough to encounter people who are willing to take the time to help you learn how to do your job better. For a journalist, that means finding someone who guides you through complex subjects until you reach at least a minimal level of understanding of key issues.
For me, one such person was Rosslyn S. Kleeman, or as she was known by all whose lives she touched, Roz. She died on July 18 at the age of 92.
Roz had a long and distinguished career in public service, including stints as deputy director of the Women’s Action Program at the Department of Health, Education and Welfare; project director at the Office of Management and Budget; director of federal workforce future issues at the General Accounting Office; and distinguished executive in residence at The George Washington University’s School of Public Policy and Public Administration. For years after her retirement, Roz was active in the National Academy of Public Administration and chaired the Coalition for Effective Change.
She was, in short, at the center of the good government movement for decades.
“So many people greatly admired Roz for her devotion to effective government, accountable public leaders and a vibrant public service,” said Hannah Sistare, a former staff director for the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee who also worked with Roz on the second National Commission on the Public Service from 2001 to 2003. “She never stopped working toward these goals throughout her long life. During a visit a few weeks ago, Roz's first questions were about how government reform efforts were progressing.”
When I first started reporting on federal government operations almost 25 years ago, Roz was more than generous with her time and her expertise. If there was anything she didn’t know about management and workforce issues, she’d connect me with the person or people who did, drawing on her vast connections in the public administration world.
Years later, every time I’d see her, she’d ask my opinions on this or that management reform issue of the day, as if my knowledge added up to anything next to her mountain of accumulated wisdom.
Roz’s family has come up with a great way to honor her memory: a scholarship fund at the University of Minnesota to support undergraduate students with an interest in careers in government and the public sector. (Roz earned a degree in public planning and government from the university in 1972.)
There are three ways to donate to the fund:
- By mail: Write a check to University of Minnesota Foundation and put “Rosslyn S. Kleeman Scholarship Fund” in the memo section. Mail it to the University of Minnesota Foundation, P.O. Box 860266, Minneapolis, MN 55486-0266.
- By phone: 800-775-2187 or 612-624-3333, during regular business hours central time.
- By credit card online: Go to the College of Continuing Education page, click on “Donate” at the bottom right, scroll down to "other" and type in: “Rosslyn S. Kleeman Scholarship Fund.”