John L. Palmer is University Professor and Maxwell Dean Emeritus at Syracuse University. He joined the faculty of the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs in 1988 and was the School’s dean from then until 2003, with responsibility for academic and administrative leadership of Syracuse University’s six social science disciplinary departments, undergraduate and graduate programs in public and international affairs, and numerous interdisciplinary research centers and institutes. After leaving the deanship Dr. Palmer was appointed to the position of University Professor, from which he retired in 2019.
He also served two presidentially-appointed terms as a public trustee for the Medicare and Social Security programs from 2000-2007 and as the Maxwell School’s Birkhead-Burkhead Professor of Teaching Excellence from 2010-2014. Prior to moving to Syracuse, Dr. Palmer occupied several different positions in Washington, DC, including senior fellow of The Brookings Institution and of The Urban Institute and Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation of the federal Department of Health and Human Services.
He has been affiliated with the Robertson Family since 2003. Dr. Palmer served on the Advisory Board of the Robertson Foundation for Government (RFG) from 2009 to 2021. In April 2021 he was elected for a three-year term as a Member-at-Large of the RFG Board of Directors.