Remarks on Charles Jones’ Retirement: Danielle Marten

Good afternoon,

My name is Danielle Marten. I am a 2011 graduate of the Certified Public Manager program through the KU Public Management Center and I am a current MPA student.  I have been fortunate enough to learn many valuable lessons from Charles during both the CPM and MPA program.

For anyone in the room that has heard his retelling of a mad hatter named Sgt Boston Corbett to those that have participated in his tour of the State House, you know that he can make history come to life.  From his love of history, I learned that you must look at where you have been in order to clearly assess your current situation.  Do not lose sight of the big picture.

Charles also taught me to make sure you have the right people at the table when you are trying to move a new idea forward. By right people, I do not mean those that always agree with you.  You must also include those with differing opinions as great solutions often come when a single idea is challenged.

Perhaps the most important lesson I have learned from Charles is the value of experience. Throughout my MPA program, he brought professionals from various public agencies to speak to our classes regarding what it is really like to apply the knowledge we learned in a real world setting.  As a practitioner himself, he also brought his past experiences and advice to the classroom.  This was specifically true as I was experiencing an ethical challenge while I enrolled in his ethics class.  Charles helped me not only realize the true ethical dilemma I was dealing with but he also helped guide me towards an appropriate solution.

In closing, I am not only here to speak from my own experiences. I was asked to speak from a student perspective.  That being said, I contacted a few of his former students and asked for their perspective as to what they learned from Charles.  I would like to share a couple of those responses with you today.

The first is from Emily Farley.  She writes “Charles led his lectures with enthusiasm for public service.  His background was a true testament of the dedication to public administration as he served at multiple levels of government.  With those experiences and his academic education he taught students to write beautifully, and to think ethically.  I find Charles to be authentic and compassionate for his fellow professors and students.  He has made an impact in how I want to be seen as a public servant to Kansans and I am very grateful for all the lessons I have learned”.

The second is from Carla Williams. She writes “I was personally and professionally challenged by Professor Jones, for which I am absolutely grateful.  I appreciate his candor and his mesmerizing skill with storytelling and playing the ukulele.  I have carried from one class to the next concepts such as bounded rationality, punctuated equilibrium and identifying and assessing ideological constructs.  I am thankful I had the opportunity to learn from him just as he was thankful to have learned from Heifetz.

Charles, on behalf of all of your former students, thank you. We are grateful for everything you have taught us and we wish you luck with the next chapter of your life.

Thank you.


Danielle Marten, CFP

Traffic Safety Consultant

Bureau of Transportation Safety & Technology

Kansas Department of Transportation