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Home  |  Faculty & Research  |  Faculty Directory  |  David N. Dinkins
Professor in the Professional Practice of Public Affairs
International Affairs Building, Room 1430


David N. Dinkins is Professor in the Practice of Public Affairs at the Columbia University School of International & Public Affairs (SIPA), serves on its Advisory Board, and hosts its Annual Dinkins Leadership & Public Policy Forum.  In 2003, the David N. Dinkins Professorship Chair in the Practice of Urban & Public Affairs was established at Columbia University. 

Mr. Dinkins began his public service career in 1966 as a member of the New York State Assembly.  He was president of the New York City Board of Elections, and served as City Clerk for 10 years before his elections as President of the Borough of Manhattan in 1985 and 106th Mayor of the City of New York in 1989.

As Mayor, Mr. Dinkins was responsible for the establishment of numerous widely heralded cultural staples such as Fashion Week, Restaurant Week, and Broadway on Broadway. His administration initiated the revitalization of Times Square and secured an unprecedented deal to keep the U.S. Open Tennis Championships in New York for the next 99 years. This arrangement generates more annual financial benefits to the city than the Yankees, Mets, Knicks, and Rangers combined. Mayor Dinkins also instituted “Safe Streets, Safe City: Cops and Kids,” a comprehensive criminal justice plan for reducing crime and expanding opportunities for the children of New York.

Mr. Dinkins has received numerous awards and accolades throughout his career and is associated with a variety of civic and charitable organizations that assist children and young people. He currently serves on the boards of the Association to Benefit Children, Children’s Health Fund, Coalition for the Homeless, The Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund, New York City Global Partners,  and Posse Foundation. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the National Advisory Board of the International African American Museum and is on the steering committee of the Association for a Better New York and the New York Urban League’s Advisory Council.  Mr. Dinkins is a founding member of the Black & Puerto Rican Legislative Caucus of New York State and The One Hundred Black Men. He was formerly vice president of the United States Conference of Mayors, is a Member-at-Large of the Black Leadership Forum, and is also chairman emeritus of the National Black Leadership Commission on AIDs. He is an Honorary Life Trustee of the Community Service Society of New York, an Honorary Trustee of the Friends of Harlem Hospital, and a Lifetime Member of the NAACP.

In 2013, Mr. Dinkins published his memoir A Mayor’s Life: Governing New York’s Gorgeous Mosaic, which chronicles his career as a devoted public servant and New Yorker in love with his city.

Mr. Dinkins graduated with honors from Howard University in 1950 with a B.S. in mathematics and received an LL.B. from Brooklyn Law School in 1956 and maintained a private law practice prior to entering public service. He is a recipient of The Congressional Gold Medal for his service as a Montford Point Marine in the United States Marine Corps, during World War II.

Born in Trenton, New Jersey, on July 10, 1927, Mr. Dinkins was a long-time resident of Harlem and still resides in New York City with his wife, Joyce Burrows Dinkins.  They have two children – David Jr. and Donna Dinkins Hoggard – and two grandchildren – Jamal Hoggard and Kalila Dinkins Hoggard.

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