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  • Alair Townsend '62, LL.D. '91

    Columnist and Retired Deputy Mayor of New York City

    “Learning English and writing skills at Elmira College were beneficial to me in all aspects of my life.”

    Alair was the Budget Director and Deputy Mayor for Finance and Economic Development of New York City under Mayor Ed Koch until she retired in 1989.  As Deputy Mayor, Alair was responsible for developing New York City’s economic development and tax policy as well as supervising the relevant city agencies.  “I developed incentive programs to promote growth outside of Manhattan’s central business districts that served to retain thousands of jobs,” she explains.

    After leaving the Deputy Mayor post, she became Publisher of Crain’s New York Business, a weekly newspaper.   “I also wrote a bi-weekly column that won first prizes for bylined commentary from the Alliance of Area Business Publications and from the Society of American Business Editors and Writers,” Alair explains.  When she retired as publisher, she continued on as a columnist and still contributes her writing to this day.  Alair was also a trustee of Elmira College from 1984 until 1992.  

    As a student at Elmira College, Alair enjoyed learning from departments such as history, English, French, sociology, music, and political science.  While obtaining broad knowledge has been very beneficial to Alair, English skills have been one of her most valuable assets. 

    Alair presented on Campus as part of the Presidential Lecture Series on November 19, 2013.

    Learn more about Elmira College's Sociology & Anthropology Program