Oak Ridge City Manager Earns Doctorate Degree from UT


POSTED: MAY 13, 2019

Oak Ridge City Manager Mark Watson received his doctorate degree in philosophy from the University of Tennessee on May 9. Back in March, Dr. Watson successfully defended his dissertation titled “City Managers, Mayors and Councilmembers: Local Stability in Tennessee.”

“It has always been a belief of mine for continuous learning and being close to the University of Tennessee allowed me to fulfill the heights of my profession while learning new technical and research skills along the way,” Dr. Watson said. “I shall continue to use those skills in serving Oak Ridge in the years ahead. It has been quite a 7-year academic journey, while working full time as a city manager.”

Dr. Watson is a second-generation city manager and has served in that capacity with the City of Oak Ridge since 2010. He successfully supported the creation of the new Manhattan Project National Historical Park, a new Peace Pavilion for the International Friendship Bell and renovations at both the Alexander Guest House and Historic Jackson Square.

Watson’s efforts have also brought about a much-needed revitalization of the city center with the Main Street Oak Ridge project. Additionally, Dr. Watson has spearheaded two major projects that are under construction right now: a new senior center and preschool for Oak Ridge.

Before taking his current position, Dr. Watson served as City Manager in six different cities since 1981. Those cities are spread across Texas, Montana and Arizona, ranging in population from 5,000 to 100,000. Dr. Watson worked actively in cities characterized as rural, suburban, urban, agricultural, military, international border, medical, aviation, and scientific communities. He is known worldwide and most recently was invited to be a U.S. local government policy guest lecturer at China University of Political Science and Law in Beijing.

While attending UT’s doctoral program, Watson concentrated in the field of public administration and public policy. During that period of study, his work involved research in public administration theory and environmental policy as well as national, state and local government and international conflict resolution.

Dr. Watson received a Bachelor of Arts in English and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from the University of Kansas. His alma mater recently recognized him with a Lifetime Achievement Award in City Management. Watson was also recognized in 2017 by the International City/County Management Association for a 40-year career in public service.