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In Memoriam: Professor Dennis C. Smith
It is with the greatest sadness and regret that we note the passing of Dennis Smith, longtime NYU Wagner faculty member, colleague, and friend.
Dennis, who died July 27 after a lengthy bout with cancer, was a leading, beloved citizen of the Wagner community for more than four decades, devoting himself tirelessly to students, fellow scholars, alumni, and school staff. He was a ready and effective collaborator, and maintained extremely strong ties to his students, long after they had left his classroom and gone on to important roles in public agencies and nonprofit organizations around the world. He offered valued feedback, connections, and encouragement to many.
He himself was influential as a noted criminal justice scholar, and worked alongside the NYPD and its commissioners. In both his own scholarship and in research undertaken for the City and the Police Department, he became a herald for the rigorous use of an agency’s data to shape decisions on how it uses its resources, and showed that performance-based management could be transplanted to other government agencies and nonprofits to improve outcomes in education, public health, and poverty alleviation.
Dennis earned his Ph.D. in political science from Indiana University and began teaching shortly afterward at NYU Wagner. He received tenure in 1980. He taught classes in public policy and management of government and nonprofit agencies to generations of students.
He directed NYU Wagner’s Public Administration program for nine years and served two years as associate dean. He also served as Chair of the NYU Faculty Senators Council during the 1983-’83 academic year.
Through a flourishing partnership with Accenture, he oversaw a well-attended series of management meetings with leading City officials. This “Leading Large-Scale Change” program began during the Bloomberg administration and continues strongly under Mayor Bill de Blasio.
Our mission at NYU Wagner is to give students the skills they need to make a difference and bring about enduring change on issues that matter. Dennis most certainly did meet and exceed that standard for the issues, and people, he so deeply cared about.
NYU Wagner is planning a memorial event later this summer; details will be announced shortly. For now, we extend our heartfelt condolences to Dennis’s wife, his two daughters, and the other members of his family.
In Memoriam: Professor Emeritus John M. Capozzola
We are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of John M. Capozzola, a Professor Emeritus of Public Administration at NYU Wagner. Age 94 at the time of his death on Jan. 29, and a resident of Madison, New Jersey, he served for more than 20 years as a devoted teacher and practioner, respected and valued member of the faculty, and leader in the field of accountability, local government, and labor relations.
Professor Capozzola, PhD, was first appointed as an Assistant Professor in 1964 to what was then known as the NYU Graduate School of Public Administration. He gained tenure as a full Professor in 1971. His full-time service continued through 1991. Even after his retirement, he continued teaching for the school for four more years, as an Adjunct Professor. With his wife, Shirley (Bloomburg) Capozzola, he remained a valued member of the extended Wagner community.
Professor Capozzola attended Penn State University as an undergraduate. He received his Master’s Degree in Public Administration from the University of Denver, where he was a Sloan Fellow, and attended the University of Pennsylvania Law School and Sorbonne after honorable service in World War II in the U.S. Army Corp 415th Night Fight Squadron in the European Theatre. He received his PhD from Penn State University.
Professor Capozzola is survived by three daughters—Meg Smith of Chatham, N.J., Joan Sterlucci of Madison, N.J., and Nancy Nahvi of Chatham, N.J.—as well as four grandchildren. The family asks that memorial donations be offered to St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare Center, Madison Adoption Center & Administration Offices, P.O. Box 159, Madison, N.J. 07940.