William Johnson, Jr., is Distinguished Professor of Public Policy who has spent the bulk of his career operating social service and local government programs. He is the former mayor of the City of Rochester (1993-2005).
His expertise includes local and state government, urban issues and smart growth and land use policies. He can also speak on racial equity issues and educational achievement issues for African American students.
Prior to serving as mayor, Johnson was the President/CEO of the Urban League of Rochester (1972-1993) and a political science professor at Mott Community College in Michigan (1967-71). Johnson has been a Monroe Community College trustee (1976-82), the Board Chair for Partners for Livable Communities in Washington, D.C. (2002-05) and Chairman of New York State Employment and Training Council (1979-83).
Johnson was a columnist for the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle in the mid 1980s and About…Time Magazine from 1975-1990 with more than 30 published articles.
He has delivered more than 200 speeches to universities, associations and civic groups across the United States since 1973 and, as Rochester Mayor, many of his major speeches are still available on the City of Rochester’s website.
Johnson earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Howard University, Washington, D.C. (1965, 1967) and holds doctorates of humane letters and laws from: Keuka College (1990), St. John Fisher College (1998), Rochester Institute of Technology (1999) and University of Rochester (2006).