Kurt L. Schmoke
Board Vice chair
Vice President and General Counsel
Kurt L. Schmoke, Vice President and General Counsel Dean of historic and prestigious Howard University, joined the board of Carnegie Corporation of New York in June 2007. Schmoke, a Rhodes Scholar and dynamic urban leader, is the twenty-first member of the board and joins a group of three university presidents and three former governors, as well as current and former leaders from the World Bank, who serve as trustees to the Corporation.
Mr. Schmoke entered law practice with the Baltimore firm of Piper and Marbury in 1976, and in 1977, he joined President Carter's White House Domestic Policy Staff. In 1978, he returned to Baltimore as an Assistant United States Attorney. Four years later, he was elected State's Attorney, the city's chief prosecuting officer.
On November 3, 1987, Kurt Schmoke was elected Mayor of Baltimore, becoming the first African-American voted into that office. In his inaugural address, he announced his intention to make Baltimore "The City That Reads." Mayor Schmoke, in partnership with Baltimore's public and private sectors, established a cabinet-level city agency and a private foundation to fund, coordinate, and expand adult literacy programs throughout the city. He also strongly supported educational innovation and led a successful campaign to win more state funding to boost student achievement in Baltimore's public schools through a landmark city-state partnership.
In addition to his emphasis on education, Mayor Schmoke made housing a top priority of his administration. Under his leadership, Baltimore was in the forefront of the national effort to tear down dilapidated, crime-plagued, high-rise public housing developments and replace them with lower density, low-rise, mixed-income communities that better supported the healthy development of families. Home ownership also jumped in the city, spurred by numerous incentives he introduced, such as the Settlement Expense Loan Program, which gave home buyers funds to meet settlement costs.
Mayor Schmoke also made Baltimore a national model for neighborhood revitalization. In 1994, the city’s neighborhood revitalization efforts received a major boost when President Clinton selected Baltimore as an Empowerment Zone city. As a result of its success in bringing jobs and businesses into the Zone, Baltimore was recognized by the Clinton administration as a "top performer" among Empowerment Zone cities.
In the general area of economic development, Mayor Schmoke worked aggressively to retain and expand existing businesses, while working to attract new businesses, especially those in areas of projected job growth, such as the health sciences, tourism, information technology, and biotechnology.
Schmoke was born in Baltimore and attended the City's public schools. He graduated with a bachelor's degree in history from Yale University in 1971. After attending Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar, he received his law degree in 1976 from Harvard Law School.