Monday, May 05, 2008

Tribute: Dr. Donald "Robbie" Robinson

Last summer the History Channel produced a series on the ten most important dates in American history you never heard of. Each episode focused on one event that had a profound effect on how we live today. For example, one episode was on the famous Einstein Letter, which many argue is the reason the United States developed the atomic bomb. And the rest is history, as they say.

If I were to put together my own list of the dates that have, to this point, most affected the course of my life, I would definitely mark down the random day in April 1996 that I met Dr. Donald "Robbie" Robinson. He and his wife were the directors of Boston University's Washington D.C. program, and my meeting with Dr. Robinson was a pre-requisite to being accepted into the program.

Based on that interview, Dr. Robinson not only accepted me into the D.C. program for the Fall of 1996, he recommended I be placed as an intern in the White House, where I would work for then Vice President Gore. I will never forget the unwavering confidence he had in me that day. Without his help, both in terms of that confidence, and his Rolodex, there's no way I would have interned in the White House.

No doubt during his more than 25-year tenure as the head of the D.C. program, Dr. Robinson personally affected the lives of hundreds of young Americans, not to mention, grew one of the most successful programs of its kind in the country.

I learned last week that Dr. Robinson passed away at the end of April at the age of 71.

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