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Former governor Patrick will become professor at Harvard’s Kennedy School

Former governor Deval Patrick will serve as a Kennedy School professor of the practice of public leadership and as co-director of the school’s Center for Public Leadership.Blake Nissen for The Boston Globe

Former Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick will take on leadership and teaching roles at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government starting next week, the institution said Tuesday.

In a statement, the Kennedy School said Patrick will serve as a professor of the practice of public leadership and as co-director of the school’s Center for Public Leadership.

Patrick, a Democrat who served as the state’s first Black governor from 2007 to 2015, is a Harvard College and Harvard Law School graduate who worked for corporate giants including Texaco and Coca-Cola and also served as assistant attorney general for civil rights in the Clinton administration. He also ran unsuccessfully for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020.


The Kennedy School said Patrick will co-lead the Center for Public Leadership with Hannah Riley Bowles, a lecturer in public policy and management at the school.

“It’s an honor to join this distinguished faculty and an exciting opportunity to help lead the Center for Public Leadership,” Patrick said in the statement. “With the scale and scope of the challenges facing humankind, the world needs conscientious, dedicated leaders at every level in every sector, people willing to spend their ‘political’ capital, not just accumulate it. I am looking forward to working alongside and encouraging leaders like that at the Kennedy School.”

Bowles said in the statement that she was “honored and overjoyed” to direct the leadership center with the former governor.

“Our students will benefit tremendously by learning from him as role model and from his depth of experience with thorny and meaningful leadership challenges,” Bowles said. “I look forward to working together to advance the mission of CPL, in collaboration with our extraordinary community of inspiring students, distinguished leaders in practice, skilled staff, and esteemed faculty colleagues.”

Douglas Elmendorf, the Kennedy School dean, also praised Patrick.


“I am thrilled that Governor Patrick will be joining Harvard Kennedy School,” Elmendorf said in the release. “With his deep and varied experience as a public leader and his important work as a civil rights advocate, Patrick will be a distinguished member of our practitioner faculty. I am delighted he will teach our students who strive to grow as principled and effective public leaders.”

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