About This Scholarship

Awarded to outstanding students in the MPA program with preference given to those with financial need.

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About Pat Keehley

Dr. Keehley arrived in Layton, UT in 1989 when the University of Utah selected her as Visiting Assistant Professor and later as Interim Director of the MPA program. She led the effort to reaccredit the program by NASPAA, and her experience subsequently benefited Southern Utah University.

After her time at the University of Utah, Dr. Keehley briefly worked as a consultant in Washington, DC and then relocated to Cedar City, UT. In 2005, she was appointed Assistant Professor and tasked with the design and implementation of a Master of Public Administration program at Southern Utah University. The Utah Board of Regents unanimously approved the program, and Dr. Keehley became the inaugural Director in 2006. The program grew from its initial enrollment of 22 to over 75 by 2008.

In 2014, SUU became a leading intuition in Utah for online learning (long before COVID!) and the MPA program was in the forefront. The MPA faculty redesigned and piloted synchronous and asynchronous courses, which expanded the student body beyond southern Utah to the Wasatch front and out of state. With the goal of accreditation, Dr. Keehley and the MPA faculty continually assessed and enhanced online courses to ensure the quality of education was comparable to classroom sessions.

After the minimum of seven years in operation, Dr. Keehley—along with Jennifer Leard, Cameron Chirstensen, and the MPA faculty—developed a multi-year self-study report that was submitted to NASPAA in May 2013 for consideration. The program passed the initial hurdle, and a site visit was planned. Confident but a bit nervous, the faculty answered questions posed by the NASPAA team, and the faculty dedication and program quality shined through. SUU administrators, current students, alumni, and community members also met with the accreditation team, and their support and passion for the program was obvious. Three long months later, the SUU MPA program received accreditation for the following seven years (2021). Among other comments in the final report, the NASPAA accreditation team complimented the faculty on the successful implementation of a high quality online program.

Although her heart lies with the MPA program, Dr. Keehley has numerous other professional experiences and credentials. She was a Program Evaluator with the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) and spent one year working at the Pentagon for the U.S. House Appropriations Committee. She was appointed as a Member of the Summit District Board of Education in Colorado and the Cedar City Planning Commission. Dr. Keehley has presented at numerous professional conferences throughout the U.S., and somehow found the time to write two editions of her book on benchmarking for best practices published by Jossey-Bass. She is proud to be drafting a case study book with one of SUU’s first MPA graduates, Dr. Roger Carter.

Dr. Keehley is no stranger to international travel. In 2009 she served as a Fulbright Scholar in China. She has consulted with public agencies in Peru, Guam, Palau, and American Samoa, and she provided training to public servants employed by the United Nations in Geneva and AID in Egypt. She helped launch and co-instructed three MPA study abroad programs to Europe. For fun, she’s traveled several times to Australia, enjoyed Bangkok, and loves Iceland in summer.

By the time Dr. Keehley retired in 2018, the SUU MPA enrollment had grown to approximately 110 students. She is humbled and honored to have the MPA scholarship be her namesake. The first MPA scholarship was awarded for the academic year 2020-21 and will continue to benefit MPA students into the foreseeable future. Dr. Keehley continues to serve as a fundraiser and on the MPA Advisory Committee.

Although she completed her doctoral work as a bulldog at the University of Georgia, she’ll always be a T-Bird. She welcomes you to contact her at keehley@emeriti.suu.edu.


Humanities and Social Sciences




Varied Dollars/yr


  • Final: March 18

If you any questions about your financial aid or need help applying for a scholarship you can contact the Financial Aid Office at finaid@suu.edu or call (435) 586-7735.