Born and raised in suburban Brookline, Massachusetts, the son of Greek immigrants, Dukakis graduated from Swarthmore College in 1955 and served two years in the Army in Korea before entering Harvard Law School. He was a practicing attorney with three years' experience as a member of the Brookline Town Meeting when he was elected to the Massachusetts Legislature in 1962.
Dukakis went on to serve three terms as governor of Massachusetts (1975-78, 1983-1990), interrupting his last to run as the Democratic nominee for president against Republican George Bush. Perhaps his most memorable visit to UCLA came during the 1988 race, when he and Bush staged the first of their televised debates in Pauley Pavilion -- what some analysts consider a pivotal point in the campaign.
Dukakis has been a distinguished professor of political science at Northeastern University in Boston since 1991. Formerly a lecturer and director of intergovernmental studies at Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government, he has also served as a visiting professor or guest lecturer at Rutgers University, Florida Atlantic University and the University of Hawaii.
He has been married for 33 years to Katherine Dickson Dukakis. They have three children: John, Andrea, and Kara.