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Carolyn W. Colvin

image of Carolyn Colvin

Carolyn W. Colvin began her public service career in Maryland in the office of U.S. Senator Paul S. Sarbanes in 1982. Her distinguished public service career includes positions as Deputy Commissioner of Administration for the Baltimore City Health Department (1984 – 1988), Secretary of the Maryland Department of Human Resources (1989 – 1994), Deputy Commissioner for Operations, Social Security Administration (1998 – 2001), Director of the Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services (2003 – 2007) and Special Assistant to Secretary of the Department of Transportation (2009 – 2011).

Dr. Colvin is passionate and committed to the mission, ideals, and principles of the Social Security Administration, especially in serving our nation’s most vulnerable populations - disabled, survivors, children, and those with limited income and resources. It is her pledged dedication to this essential mission that drew her from retirement to return to the Social Security Administration in January 2011. Upon her return Dr. Colvin served as Deputy Commissioner for Social Security. On February 14, 2013, she became the agency’s Acting Commissioner, and was nominated as Commissioner, Social Security Administration on June 20, 2014 by President Barack Obama.

Dr. Colvin has spent more than 30 years as a senior executive, leading federal, state, county and city organizations through development, change and innovation. In addition to her role as Acting Commissioner leading a workforce comprised of more than 63,000 individuals, Dr. Colvin served as a member of the Social Security Board of Trustees.

Her dedication to others’ welfare also extends to Dr. Colvin’s membership in organizations such as Leadership Maryland, Morgan State University Alumni Association, the National Academy of Social Insurance, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, and the National Forum for Black Public Administrators. She was recently named as a National Academy of Public Administration (NAPA) fellow. She is known for promoting the competence and abilities of all, extending herself personally to encourage and aid others as they pursue their professional objectives and reach their full potential. In recognition of her commitment to the state of Maryland she has been honored with such awards as the Sun Magazine’s 50 Women to Watch (2014), the Innovations in Aging Award (Maryland, Virginia and District of Columbia Departments of Aging 2012), Maryland’s Top 100 Women (2005) and the Women of Achievement Award (Suburban Maryland Business & Professional Women 2005).

Born in Arnold, Maryland, Dr. Colvin currently resides in Odenton. She received her undergraduate, graduate and Honorary Doctorate degrees in Business Administration from Morgan State University in Baltimore.

Biography courtesy of the Maryland Commission for Women, 2017.

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