About This Scholarship

Donor Biography

Dr. Keehley's Pathway to Southern Utah University

Dr. Keehley arrived in Layton, UT in 1989 when the University of Utah (UU) selected her as Visiting Assistant Professor and later as Interim Director of the MPA program. She led the effort to reaccredit UU's program through NASPAA, and her experience subsequently benefited Southern Utah University (SUU). After her time at the University of Utah, Dr. Keehley briefly worked as a consultant in Washington, and Colorado, 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.

MPA and Online Learning

In 2014, SUU became a leading intuition in Utah for online learning (long before COVID-19!) and the MPA program was in the forefront. The MPA faculty redesigned courses 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 virtual education was comparable to classroom sessions.

Achieving NASPAA Accreditation

After the minimum of seven years in operation, Dr. Keehley, along with Jennifer Leard, Cameron Christensen, and the MPA faculty, developed a multi-year self-study report which was submitted to NASPAA for consideration. The program passed the initial hurdle, and a site visit was planned. Confident but stressed, the faculty answered questions posed by the NASPAA team, and the faculty dedication 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 MPA program received accreditation for the following seven years! Among other comments in the final report, the NASPAA accreditation team complimented the faculty on the successful implementation of a high-quality online program.


By the time Dr. Keehley retired in 2016 the MPA enrollment had grown from its initial 22 students in southern Utah to approximately 110 students located throughout the state. She is humbled and honored to have the MPA scholarship be her namesake. The first MPA scholarship was awarded for academic year 2020-21 and will continue to benefit MPA students into the foreseeable future. Dr. Keehley continues to serve as a fundraiser and remains active on the MPA Advisory Committee.

Dr. Keehley's Other Life

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) where she was assigned to the U.S. House Appropriations Committee for one year. She was appointed as a Member of 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. Dr. Keehley is no stranger to international travel. In 2009, she served as a Fulbright Scholar in China. She's consulted with public agencies in Peru, Guam, Palau, American Samoa, and provided training to public servants in 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 has traveled several times to Australia, enjoyed Bangkok, and loves Iceland in summer. Dr. Keehley is proud to be drafting a book with one of SUU's first MPA graduates, Dr. Roger Carter. Although she completed her doctoral work as a bulldog at the University of Georgia, she will always be a T-Bird. She welcomes you to contact her at keehley@emeriti.suu.edu.

Scholarship Criteria

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

Additional Form Response Required


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.