Skip to page navigation
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites. / News / News Archives / Releases / 2023 / May / OPM Director Kiran Ahuja Delivers Commencement Address at University of Georgia

News Release

Friday, May 12, 2023
Contact: Office of Communications

RELEASE: OPM Director Kiran Ahuja Delivers Commencement Address at University of Georgia’s School of Public and International Affairs

Ahuja Urges Graduates to Follow Their Passion, Consider Public Service and the Benefits of Federal Employment

Athens, GA U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Director Kiran Ahuja delivered a commencement address today to graduates of the University of Georgia’s School of Public and International Affairs. Ahuja, an alumna of the University of Georgia School of Law, urged students to follow their passion and find a career that “feeds your soul.” 

As the “Chief Recruitment Officer” for the federal government, Ahuja encouraged students to find ways to give back to their community, including serving in the federal government. 

Below are highlights from Ahuja’s remarks, as prepared for delivery: 

“Now, as graduates of UGA, we all know that public service means much more than just casting a vote – it means stepping up to serve the greater good. It means pushing government to do right by its people. 

“After all, government institutions are vital to our democracy, but they are only as strong as the people who serve in them. We need smart, compassionate, and energetic people. People who see government as a force for good. In short, we need people like you.” 


“At OPM, our mantra is ‘People First.’ In your career, find ways to support your colleagues. In this Administration, we support the right to organize. We want employees to build careers that don’t come at the expense of starting or raising a family – or having time for hobbies and recreation. 

“Find ways to challenge yourself and work with people from different backgrounds and perspectives. We prioritize an inclusive workforce in the federal government – one that draws from the full diversity of America. Every color, tribe, stripe, and badge is welcome to serve. 

“And when you ‘level up’ to leadership positions – and manage teams of your own – pay your people fairly and always think about their professional growth. That’s why we raised the minimum wage for all federal employees and contractors to at least $15 an hour, to set an example as the largest employer in the country.” 


“Whether you join me in federal service or not – find a job that pays the bills (your parents will thank you!), but also one that feeds your soul. You didn’t pursue these degrees because you’re satisfied with the status quo – you did it to make an impact. Right now, the world needs your passion and ideas; we need your uncompromising perspective; and we need the unique strengths that your generation brings to the workforce. 

“My ask of you is this: When you join your first organization – make us better. Demand equity. Demand accessibility. And demand a mission that serves your community. And I guarantee you, if you choose a job that feeds your soul and makes your heart sing, you will find amazing happiness, because we spend way too many hours of our life at work. So, make it count, and make sure it’s meaningful.” 

- end -

The U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) is the leader in workforce management for the federal government. Our agency builds, strengthens, and serves a federal workforce of 2.2 million employees with programs like hiring assistance, healthcare and insurance, retirement benefits, and much more. We provide agencies with policies, guidance, and best practices for supporting federal workers, so they can best serve the American people. 

Control Panel