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Lieutenant Governor Richard Ravitch Addresses Public Life at UAlbany's Annual Burton Lecture

Talk highlights 2010 Distinguished Public Service Awards, April 20 at 5 p.m.

Contact(s):  Catherine Herman (518) 956-8150

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NYS Lt. Gov. Richard Ravitch

Lieutenant Governor Richard Ravitch discusses the "Public Life" at the 26th Annual John E. Burton Lecture on April 20.

ALBANY, N.Y. (April 14, 2010) -- New York State Lieutenant Governor Richard Ravitch will deliver the 26th Annual John E. Burton Lecture at the University at Albany's Page Hall, downtown campus, on April 20.

The event, hosted by UAlbany President George M. Philip, will begin at 5 p.m. The title of Ravitch's lecture is "Reflections on the Importance of Civility and Collegiality in Public Life and Political Debate."

The event also includes the presentation of 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 2010 honorees are:

• Dionne Mack-Harvin, executive director of the Brooklyn Public Library, College of Computing & Information Distinguished Service Award.
• Jeremy Travis, president, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, CUNY, School of Criminal Justice Distinguished Service Award.
• Arthur Lee Butler, executive director of the Capital District African-American Coalition on AIDS, School of Public Health Distinguished Service Award.
• Mark P. Pattison, executive deputy comptroller, Office of the State Comptroller,  Rockefeller College of Public Affairs & Policy Distinguished Service Award.
• Sister Maureen Joyce, RSM, CEO of Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Albany, School of Social Welfare Distinguished Service Award.

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.

The event is free and open to the public. A reception  immediately follows the awards ceremony in Milne Hall Room 200. Seating is limited, RSVP by April 16, (518) 442-5373 or events@uamail.albany.edu. For more information, including directions and parking, visit www.albany.edu/burton_lecture.

Lieutenant Governor Richard Ravitch
Lieutenant Governor Richard Ravitch was appointed by New York Governor David A. Paterson on July 8, 2009.

Prior to his appointment, he was a partner in the law firm Ravitch, Rice & Co. and served as chairman of the Commission on MTA Financing, which Governor Paterson formed to examine financing options for the MTA.

Ravitch began his career as an attorney for the Government Operations Committee of the House of Representatives in Washington, D.C., from 1959 to 1960. He then joined HRH Construction Corporation as a principal and supervised the development of more than 45,000 units of affordable housing in New York, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico and other locations. In 1975, Governor Hugh Carey appointed him chairman of the New York State Urban Development Corporation, a financing and development agency with 30,000 housing units under construction.

In 1975 and during the following year Ravitch assisted New York City and State officials in resolving the city’s defaults. He negotiated long-term federal guaranty arrangements with President Gerald Ford’s administration and acted as an intermediary between the city and the leadership of the municipal unions and their pension funds in negotiating labor’s contribution to the overall resolution. As part of such resolution and bailout of the city’s default, the state created the Municipal Assistance Corporation (MAC), a special purpose financing agency.

In 1979, Ravitch was appointed chairman and CEO of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), overseeing the operation of the New York City subways and buses, the Long Island Railroad and MetroNorth commuter lines, and the Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority. Ravitch completely reorganized the MTA and developed and designed a long-term capital plan and budget for a system-wide upgrade of operating equipment and roadbed and signal capabilities. For his work at the MTA, Ravitch was given the American Public Transit Association’s Individual of the Year Award in 1982.

Following his MTA service, the lieutenant governor led an effort to recapitalize The Bowery Savings Bank and helped to arrange for its acquisition from FDIC by an investor group. He serves as principal partner in Ravitch Rice & Company LLC with Donald S. Rice, a lawyer and business partner, who has assisted him in prior undertakings including the UDC and Bowery bailouts.

Ravitch was the first chairman of the Corporation for Supportive Housing. In 1999, Congress created the Millennial Housing Commission to examine the federal government’s role in meeting the nation’s growing affordable housing challenges. The Lieutenant Governor was appointed to serve as co-chair of the Commission, which led a diverse group of 22 housing experts in an intensive 17-month process to rethink America’s affordable housing policy.

Lieutenant Governor Ravitch is a graduate of Columbia College and received an LLB from Yale University School of Law.

John E. Burton

John E. Burton served as New York's budget director under Governor Thomas E. Dewey from 1943 to 1950.
 

The 2009 Distinguished Public Service Honorees:

Dionne Mack-Harvin, College of Computing and Information Distinguished Service Award. Dionne Mack-Harvin began her career at Brooklyn Public Library (BPL) in 1996 as a librarian at BPL’s Crown Heights branch.  Today Mack-Harvin is executive director of the library system, becoming the first African-American to hold this position and the first African-American woman to head a major public library system in New York state. 

As executive director, Mack-Harvin oversees the BPL’s 60 libraries, which serve the 2.5 million people of Brooklyn.  Prior to her appointment, she led the library system as interim executive director and chief of staff.  During her three-year tenure, Ms. Mack-Harvin introduced numerous initiatives to usher BPL into the 21st century, including completion of Brooklyn’s Dweck Center for Contemporary Culture and the opening of BPL’s new African-American Heritage Center.

Mack-Harvin serves on the Board of Directors for the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce and is a member of the New York State Regents Advisory Council on Libraries. In 2008 she was named one of Crain’s New York Business' "40 Under 40" leaders in the business world.

Mack-Harvin received her bachelor's degree in history and African-American Studies from the SUNY College at Brockport; and a master's in Africana Studies and Master of Library Science from the University at Albany.

Jeremy Travis, Criminal Justice Distinguished Service Award. Jeremy Travis is president of the John Jay College of Criminal Justice at CUNY.  Prior to his appointment, he served as a senior fellow in the Urban Institute’s Justice Policy Center, where he launched a national research program focused on prisoner reentry into society. 

From 1994 to 2000, Travis directed the National Institute of Justice, the research arm of the U.S. Department of Justice. Prior to his service in Washington, he was deputy commissioner for legal matters for the New York City Police Department (1990-94), a special advisor to New York City Mayor Edward I. Koch (1986-89), and special counsel to the Police Commissioner of the NYPD (1984-86).

Before joining city government, Travis spent a year as a law clerk to then U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg.  He began his career in criminal justice working as a legal services assistant for the Legal Aid Society, New York’s indigent defense agency, and taught courses on criminal justice, public policy, history and law at Yale College, the New York University Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, New York Law School and George Washington University.

Travis has a bachelor's degree in American Studies from Yale College, a master's in public administration from New York University Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, and a J.D. from the New York University School of Law.

Arthur Lee Butler, School of Public Health Distinguished Service Award. Arthur Lee Butler witnessed firsthand the devastation, dilemmas and the burdens HIV/AIDS placed on the African-American community. In 1999, Butler, with the help of three very special friends founded the Capital District African American Coalition on AIDS (CDAACA), a grass roots community-based, not-for-profit organization.

Under Butler’s direction and leadership, CDAACA has designed a number of innovative and culturally specific initiatives. CDAACA has benefited over 20,000 individuals and their families for the past 10 years. While working for New York City’s largest union, District Council 37 AFL-CIO,  Butler coordinated participation in the 30th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King’s March on Washington.

Butler is an ordained pastor and founder of Full Liberty Fellowship. The fellowship is a place where people can experience fulfillment, forgiveness, favor, and freedom. Arthur believes in laying a solid foundation and uncompromising presence in the community where African-Americans can live a life of quality, worth and dignity.

Butler’s expertise is bringing people together for the greater good of the community, a talent that helped The Community Hospice win national honors for “Excellence in Teamwork Award,” addressing end-of-life care in the African American Community.  Mr. Butler is deeply rooted in service, community and faith, which he describes as the substance of the things he has hope for and the foundation for a brighter tomorrow.

Mark P. Pattison, College of Public Affairs & Policy Distinguished Service Award. Mark P. Pattison was appointed executive deputy comptroller for the Office of State and Local Government Accountability on May 7, 2007.  Pattison previously served as the deputy comptroller for Local Government Services and Economic Development.

Pattison was mayor of the City of Troy from 1996 through 2003, and worked at the Rensselaer County Chapter of the Association for Retarded Citizens for 20 years, including 12 years as its director.

Pattison served as vice president of Troy's school board, president of Vanderheyden Hall, chairperson of the Hudson-Mohawk Heritage Area Commission, and president of the New York State Association of Community and Residential Agencies.  He was a trustee and faculty member of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, and has served on several community boards, including the Center for Economic Growth and the Commission for Economic Opportunity.

Pattison studied political science, economics and urban policy at the State University of New York at Oswego.  He has a master's degree in organization and management from Antioch University New England Graduate School.

Sister Maureen Joyce, School of Social Welfare Distinguished Service Award. Sister Maureen Joyce, RSM, has served as chief executive officer of Catholic Charities of Diocese of Albany from 1990 to the present.  Since becoming a Catholic nun nearly 49 years ago, Sister Maureen has advocated for area children, families, seniors, the poor, mentally ill, abused, homeless, displaced, and minority populations.  She oversees an organization that operates 13 community-based agencies providing programs in 14 counties in upstate N.Y., serving 90,000 people annually.  In 1971, while conducting her graduate work at the University at Albany School of Social Welfare, Sister Maureen founded and directed Community Maternity Services of Catholic Charities serving pregnant and parenting adolescents.

Sister Maureen manages a network of 1,100 Catholic Charities employees and 1,400 volunteers at 64 locations.  She has led the local Catholic Relief efforts during disasters such as 9/11, the 2004 tsunami in Asia, Hurricane Katrina, and, more recently, the earthquake in Haiti.

Sister Maureen serves on more than 10 local, statewide, and national boards including Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc.  For 40 years Sister Maureen has dedicated her efforts to addressing public policy issues with statewide councils and national committees of the NYS Catholic Conference and Catholic Charities USA. Sister Maureen was awarded Honorary Doctorates of Humane Letters from the College of Saint Rose and Siena College.

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Istvan Kecskes
UAlbany Faculty

For UAlbany linguist and teacher Istvan Kecskes, the world is his classroom.

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