Remembering David Dinkins, New York City's First and Only Black Mayor
President Lee C. Bollinger
November 24, 2020
The Columbia community mourns the loss of David N. Dinkins. We feel with his passing the end of an era. We knew David as the rest of New York did, as a person of wisdom, empathy, uncompromising integrity, and homespun humor, all qualities regrettably becoming vanishingly rare in public life. David was also a cherished member of the Columbia community for more than two decades. He convened timely and meaningful public discussions, taught students in the classical method of the tutorial, and brightened our ceremonies and official functions with his ever-charming personal warmth and dapper self-presentation.
David was a steadfast leader for social justice, in detail and as a symbol. And, for me, he was a trusted and endlessly supportive advisor and friend. At this moment, I cannot help but remember how (as on so many occasions) he stood with me at a raucous public hearing before Community Board 9 voted on the Manhattanville campus. Then, as now, I felt stronger for his presence. Jean, who had a special bond with David, joins me in expressing the sense of irreplaceable loss.