James H. Robinson, Sr. Community Relations

James (Jim) H. Robinson, Sr., the long-time director of Penn’s Community Relations, died on September 13 at the age of 88.

Mr. Robinson joined the University of Pennsylvania as an assistant for external affairs to President Gaylord Harnwell, in January 1970. The following January, Penn President Martin Meyerson named Mr. Robinson to the newly created position of equal opportunity administrator. In 1979 he was named the director of the Office of Equal Opportunity (Almanac September 27, 1979). 

Penn President Sheldon Hackney named Mr. Robinson the director of Community Affairs in 1982, noting that he had already been successful in  several activities at Penn. He was a United Way (the precursor to Penn’s Way) coordinator whose efforts led to an increase in participation. In 1984, his title changed to director of Community Relations, a position he held until he retired in 1989. He had been a key figure in maintaining ties with the neighborhood groups, coordinating monthly breakfast meetings focused on issues from economic development to safety. 

After retiring, Mr. Robinson was a board member at Ralston Center and at the Joseph J. Hill Ralston Mercy Douglass House at Presby.

He is survived by a son, Jim. Jr, a daughter, Kirstin, a grandson, Sean, a granddaughter Kenedall, and a cousin, Geneva McCullers.


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