Commencement 2013 Speakers

Robinson has been involved in national criminal justice policy for more than three decades.  She has twice served as the assistant attorney general for the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Justice Programs (OJP), the research, statistics and criminal justice assistance arm of the department. Her three years of service in the Obama Administration, coupled with seven years in the same post in the Clinton Administration, make her the longest serving head of the agency in its 45-year history.

Robinson's recent tenure heading the $2.5 billion agency was marked by a focus on science and evidence-based programming. She established a Science Advisory Board for OJP, launched a "what works" clearinghouse, and secured from Congress a 2 percent set-aside across OJP's appropriation to support research. 

Between her stints in the U.S. Department of Justice, Robinson launched, and then directed, the University of Pennsylvania's Master of Science Program in Criminology and served as a Distinguished Senior Scholar in Penn's Jerry Lee Center of Criminology. During her first tenure as assistant attorney general in the 1990s, the federal government's engagement with states and localities on community-based crime control -- and support for innovation in addressing crime -- expanded substantially. The agency's annual budget grew from $800 million in 1993 to more than $4 billion in 2000. Robinson oversaw the largest increase in federal spending on crime-related research in the nation's history and spearheaded major federal initiatives in such areas as violence against women, drug treatment courts, and law enforcement technology. 

Prior to joining the federal government, Robinson served for 14 years as director of the American Bar Association's Section of Criminal Justice, where she founded its Center on Juvenile Justice. She has frequently testified before Congress and has served on numerous national boards, including those of the Vera Institute of Justice (which she chaired from 2006 to 2009), the Center for Naval Analysis, the Police Foundation, and the National Center for Victims of Crime.

A native of Washington, D.C., Robinson is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Brown University.


< Back to Commencement 2013