David A. Paterson CC '77 was the Governor of New York State, a position he assumed following the resignation of disgraced non-Columbian Eliot Spitzer. He is the state's first black governor and the first legally blind governor of any state. He was succeeded by fellow democrat Andrew Cuomo in 2011.
Paterson was precocious, and entered Columbia at age 16. Sources differ on whether he majored in history or political science. In any case, he fondly remembers history professors like James Shenton.
Due to his sight disability, his performance varied widely, going from Dean's List to nearly failing out. On the advice of a professor, he left for a year to fight for a job, before returning and graduating. His first three years, Paterson lived in John Jay Hall, living in his parents' Harlem apartment in his senior year. He was reportedly friends with current U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder.
As a state senator, he pled with President Bollinger for recognition of the GSEU. He is also against the use of eminent domain, which may have an effect on the feasibility of the Manhattanville expansion.
As governor, he was twice scheduled to speak at the Teachers College graduation ceremony, in 2008 and 2009, but canceled both times - the first for emergency eye surgery, and the second for what he claimed was an emergency terrorism briefing, although he may have been pre-celebrating his birthday instead.
In February 2010 he announced that he would not seek reelection to his position as governor after allegations pertaining to the abuse of power to protect a staffer.