ALBANY, N.Y. (May 8, 2007) -- The Hon. David A. Paterson, Lt. Governor of the State of New York, delivered the annual Burton Lecture today at the University at Albany's Page Hall. The lecture, entitled "Energy Policy: Moving from Complacency to Action," highlighted the program, which also included the annual Distinguished Public Service Awards Ceremony for Outstanding Contributions to Public Service, honoring notable individuals who have dedicated their careers to serving the people of New York. The honorees are Sharon S. Dawes, the director of the Center for Technology in Government; David Kaczynski, executive director of New Yorkers Against the Death Penalty; Mary Ann T. Fish, former senior policy analyst, Gov. George E. Pataki Office of Federal Affairs; and John C. Egan, commissioner, New York State Office of General Services.
The Burton Lecture is named for John E. Burton, who served as New York's budget director under Governor Thomas E. Dewey from 1943 to 1950. Burton, who was credited with modernizing the state's budget process, was a key member of the special committee that recommended the creation of the State University of New York System. He also chaired the committee that created the first public administration degree-granting program at UAlbany.
Paterson was first elected to represent Harlem in the New York State Senate in 1985. In 2002, Paterson was elected minority leader of the New York State Senate, the first non-white legislative leader in New York's history. In 2004 in Boston, he became the first visually impaired person to address a Democratic National Convention. In 2006, Paterson made history again by being elected New York's first African-American lieutenant governor.
As New York State Senate minority leader, Paterson led the charge on several crucial issues for New York's future, proposing legislation for a $1 billion voter-approved stem cell research initiative, demanding a statewide alternative energy strategy, insisting on strong action to fight against domestic violence, and serving as the primary champion for minority-and women-owned businesses in New York. As a result, Governor Spitzer asked Paterson to continue to lead New York State on these issues as lieutenant governor.
Paterson, who is legally blind, is also recognized nationally as a leading advocate for the visually and physically impaired. A graduate of Columbia University and Hofstra Law School, Paterson also currently serves as an adjunct professor at Columbia's School for International and Public Affairs. Paterson lives in Harlem with his wife, Michelle, and their two children, Ashley and Alex. He is the son of Basil Paterson, the first non-white secretary of state of New York and the first African-American vice-chair of the national Democratic Party.
Distinguished Public Service Awards:
Sharon S. Dawes, Director, Center for Technology in Government and Associate Professor, Public Administration and Policy: College of Computing and Information Distinguished Public Service Award. Dawes, also an affiliated faculty member in informatics at the University, studies cross-boundary information sharing and collaboration, international digital government research, and government information strategy and management. Most of this work has been supported by the National Science Foundation, U.S. Department of Justice, the Library of Congress, and the State of New York.
A fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration, Dawes was elected the first president of the Digital Government Society of North America in 2006. She was honored with the Government Technology Conference Rudolph Giuliani Leadership Award in 2005 and named a Public Official of the Year by Governing Magazine in 1997.
David Kaczynski, Executive Director, New Yorkers Against the Death Penalty: School of Criminal Justice Distinguished Public Service Award. Kaczynski is the brother of Theodore Kaczynski - the so-called Unabomber - who was arrested in 1996 after David and his wife, Linda, approached the FBI with their suspicions that Theodore might be responsible for a series of bombings that caused three deaths and numerous injuries over a period of 17 years. In 1998, David and Linda received a $1 million reward from the U.S. Justice Department for their role in the Unabomber investigation, which they subsequently dedicated to the victims and their families. Under Kaczynski's leadership, NYADP reopened a statewide dialogue on capital punishment, culminating in a comprehensive re-examination of New York's death penalty by the State Assembly in 2004 and 2005. He is currently writing a book on violence and healing with Gary Wright, one of his brother's surviving victims.
Mary Ann T. Fish, former Senior Policy Analyst, Gov. George E. Pataki Office of Federal Affairs: Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy Distinguished Public Service Award. Fish has devoted more than 50 years of her life to public service. She recently retired after serving former Governor George Pataki for 12 years as the senior policy analyst in the State Office of Federal Affairs in Washington, D.C. From 1980 to 1992 Fish was deputy secretary of the U.S. Department of Commerce for Intergovernmental Affairs and White House Liaison, serving under two presidents and five secretaries. She was the Connecticut state director of the 1980 Reagan/Bush presidential campaign and a delegate to the 1980 Republican National Convention. Fish was the director of volunteers for the 2000 Republican National Convention. Additionally, she served four years as the New England regional political director for the Republican National Committee.
Throughout her career, Fish has remained dedicated to guiding young people in the direction of public service. She was president of the NYS Young Republicans and the founder of the NYS Teenage Republican School of Politics. At the Department of Commerce she helped young campaign workers through their federal appointment processes to enter government service.
John C. Egan, Commissioner, New York State Office of General Services: School of Social Welfare Distinguished Public Service Award. Egan was appointed by Governor Eliot Spitzer to serve as commissioner of the New York State Office of General Services. From June 2003 he has served as the president of Renaissance Corporation of Albany, a philanthropic organization established by Morris (Marty) Silverman dedicated to developing world-class education and medical facilities.
Prior to joining the Renaissance Corporation, Egan served for eight years (1995-2003) as chief executive officer of the Albany International Airport. Preceding his appointment as CEO of the Albany International Airport, Egan served for more than 40 years in various positions in New York State government. He served under five governors and rose to become commissioner of the New York State Office of General Services, executive director of the New York State Dormitory Authority and commissioner of the New York State Department of Transportation. Egan is a veteran of the United States Army and a member of numerous civic and professional organizations. He serves on the boards of local hospitals, colleges, and community organizations. He is the chairman of the Harriman Research and Technology Development Corporation and the executive director of the New York State Senate Task Force on High Speed Rail.