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#SPA80for80: Mark Sylvia, SPA/BA ’96 & SPA/MPA ’98

Mark Sylvia

Massachusetts has been at the forefront of the clean energy revolution. Directly involved in the state’s progressive movement is School of Public Affairs alumnus Mark Sylvia.

In 2009, Sylvia was appointed the director of the Green Communities Division in MA’s Department of Energy Resources (DOER). The program was a first of its kind in the United States, and Sylvia was proud to be a part of it from the very first day. Appointed Commissioner of DOER in 2011, He helped MA surpass California as the nation’s most energy efficient state, a position it has maintained for the past four years.

"I am excited to be part of Governor Deval Patrick's administration," said Sylvia upon his appointment in 2009 . "It's always been my goal to work in state government."

Sylvia continues to lead the clean energy movement in MA today as the Undersecretary for Energy in the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA).

Sylvia was also an active member of the AU community during his time as a student. He was president of the Student Confederation, a resident assistant and an active member of the Delta Chi Fraternity. He also had an internship on the Capitol Hill with his congressman, Barney Frank (D-MA).

"I've always loved politics," says Sylvia. He singles out three AU professors for building that passion. Bernard Ross, emeritus professor, was "very interesting in terms of his real-life experience working in New York," he says. David Rosenbloom, distinguished professor, introduced Sylvia to the legal aspects of public administration, and Candice Nelson was "just amazing with how she grabbed your attention."

Prior to joining Governor Patrick’s administration in 2009, Sylvia served as an appointed official in Plymouth, MA’s town government for over a decade. He served as a board member of Massachusetts Clean Energy Center, the Energy Efficiency Advisory Council, and the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. He is presently the elected Town Moderator in his hometown of Fairhaven, MA.


"The rigors of SPA’s course work, relevance of curriculum and the real world experience of the faculty not only prepared me for a career in public service, it enabled and empowered me to take on leadership roles.

There is a reason why AU consistently ranks among the top schools in the nation for public affairs, and that reason is SPA. For those of us who earned our degrees from SPA, from the day we graduated, we were prepared to meet the growing demands of public service. Because we received real life training, were supported by faculty who had distinguished careers in the government and nonprofit sectors and as a result of comprehensive, current and innovative course work, we stood out."