SSA alumni Dowell, Huberman become City of Chicago leadersBy William Harms
Two people with strong University connections have new positions in city government. Patricia Dowell, Community Field Coordinator for the School of Social Service Administration, was recently elected Alderman of the 3rd Ward, an area that includes Bronzeville and nearby neighborhoods. Dowell defeated long-time alderman Dorothy Tillman. And Ron Huberman, who received an A.M. from SSA and an M.B.A. in 2000, has been named President of the CTA.
“We are proud these two SSA graduates will assume important leadership roles in the City of Chicago. They join a number of other SSA graduates who combine their rigorous academic preparation with a deep commitment to public service in order to contribute to the public sector,” said Jeanne Marsh, Dean and George Herbert Jones Professor in SSA.
As Community Field Coordinator, Dowell coordinates the McCormick Tribune workshops, which give SSA students experience in urban policy and community development. She also teaches a field-integrative seminar for students interested in community planning, organizing and community development. Additionally, she develops and maintains contacts for field placements in organizations related to community planning, organizing and development and serves as a liaison to SSA students places in these organizations. She began working at SSA in 2005.
Dowell has a B.A. in developmental psychology from the University of Rochester and graduated from SSA with an A.M. in 1980. She was a City Planner and Deputy Commissioner of Neighborhood Planning under Mayors Harold Washington, Eugene Sawyer and Richard Daley. She also served as the executive director of the Near West Side Community Development Corporation.
In the mid 1990s, Dowell was the founding executive director of the Mid-South Planning and Development Commission, and she also served as executive director of Chicago Public Allies, a national youth development organization.
Until his appointment as CTA President, Huberman was chief of staff for Mayor Richard Daley. He served as the city’s executive director of the Office of Emergency Management and Communications before coming to the mayor’s office.
Huberman became a police officer in 1995, after receiving his B.A. in English and psychology from the University of Wisconsin, Madison.
After graduating from the Chicago Police Academy and joining the Chicago Police Department, Huberman sought assignment in the 24th District in Rogers Park, where he worked to drive out contending gangs from his beat.
He has been honored with a Department Commendation, The Spirit of Rogers Park Award, an Officer of the Month award and 24 honorable mentions.
After two and a half years of service as a beat officer and as a tactical gang team officer during part of his service, Huberman decided he wanted a broader intellectual basis for the leadership roles to which he aspired. He then began school as a part-time student in SSA and the GSB while still serving as a police officer. Huberman was granted an educational leave of absence in December 1998 to pursue his studies full time.
He was awarded a 1999 Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans, one of 30 people to receive the award. Born in Tel Aviv, Israel, Huberman became a U.S. citizen in 1982.