The Mark O. Hatfield School of Government honored Dr. Edward J. Latessa with the Hatfield Scholar Award. Dr. Latessa has led a distinguished career in the field of Criminal Justice and is currently a Professor and Head of the Division of Criminal Justice at the University of Cincinnati. He has co-authored seven books including Corrections in the Community and Corrections in America. Additionally, Dr. Latessa has directed over 100 funded research projects, including studies of juvenile justice programs, drug courts, and intensive supervision programs.
Senator Mark O. Hatfield, for whom the award is named, said “I admire [Dr. Latessa’s] dedication to public service. Oregon is a state that values new ideas that serve the cause of social justice and consequently, we are proud that he would accept this award.”
Dr. Latessa’s intrepid perspective on academic practice has inspired the creation of two highly reputable online Criminal Justice degree programs. In 2001, the University of Cincinnati launched a Master of Science in Criminal Justice to great success. When approached about the possibility of launching a Bachelor’s degree Dr. Latessa recommended Portland State University’s own Division of Criminology and Criminal Justice as the ideal candidate and in 2005 this recommendation came to fruition.
At the award ceremony, Dr. Latessa said “I have dedicated most of my career to trying to improve programs, trying to make us a little more effective. I am happy if I can get one program, make it more effective, and change a few peoples’ lives. Many times the difference between us and the people that are incarcerated is a very small, thin line. It’s important that we understand that they are human beings, they are citizens, they are our neighbors that are incarcerated. It’s important to work hard to see that what we know works its way into the field.”
About the Hatfield Scholar Award
The Hatfield Scholar Award, named after the distinguished former Governor and Senator from Oregon, Mark O. Hatfield is offered to exceptional scholars whose careers best exemplify the Hatfield ideals of public interest, scholarship, public service, civil and human rights, social justice, and peace. The award is given annually by the combined faculties within the Hatfield School of Government at Portland State University.
About Portland State University
PSU was founded in 1946 to help educate returning World War II veterans, and continues this tradition of adapting to changing social and educational circumstances. PSU’s Criminology and Criminal Justice division, part of the Hatfield School of Government, has been awarding bachelor degrees for nearly 40 years. The online learning program enables distance learners to interact with an interesting, passionate group of fellow students and learn with the same distinguished faculty that teach the on-campus program.