Governor Deval Patrick has made no secret of his desire to rejoin the private sector, which he often says he misses “especially on pay day.”
But as he prepares to leave office in January, the outgoing governor appears to be aiming for a job in academia — not the corporate world, at least initially.
In a disclosure form filed last month with the State Ethics Commission, Patrick reveals that he has been approached by MIT about becoming a visiting scholar at its Innovation Initiative.
The initiative, launched last year, aims to help MIT students and faculty “design, build, test, prototype, hack, scale up, and accelerate the transformation of academic ideas into practical innovations through ventures, partnerships and networks,” according to its official charge.
Patrick’s spokeswoman, Jesse Mermell, acknowledged Friday that a job at the Innovation Initiative has piqued her boss’s interest.
“As the governor has said many times, he is exploring his options for life after his time in the corner office,” she said in a statement. “Ethics law requires that a disclosure be filed when there is a mutual interest between a prospective employer and employee in a possible job opportunity.”
A spokeswoman for MIT had no immediate comment. The ethics filing was first reported by State House News Service.
Patrick, an English major at Harvard College and graduate of Harvard Law School, has no technical background, but has often expressed a fascination with cutting-edge technologies. He considers a $1 billion program to simulate the biotechnology industry, which he launched early in his first term, to be one of his proudest achievements.
Patrick filed the disclosure form to dispel any appearance of a conflict of interest as he hunts for jobs while serving as governor. In the form, he writes that there is no particular action or decision before him that would affect MIT, but points out that the “actions of my administration broadly impact institutions of higher education in the Commonwealth, including MIT.”
While Patrick, a former executive at Coca-Cola and Texaco, is expected to ultimately take high-paying jobs in the business world, he may be following a well-worn path for former politicians who find their first jobs after elected office in academia.
Mayor Kevin H. White took a job as director of the Institute for Political Communication at Boston University after leaving office in 1984.
After his five terms as mayor ended in January, the late Thomas M. Menino went to the same university to serve as co-director of its Intitiative on Cities. When he left office in 2001, Vice President Al Gore became a visiting professor at two institutions: Middle Tennessee State University and Columbia University.