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Governor Baker to create new Cellucci leadership award

Charlie Baker (right) applauded as then-Governor Paul Cellucci left the podium following a 1997 news conference at the State House.Globe Staff/File/Boston Globe

Governor Charlie Baker, who looked to Paul Cellucci as a mentor, will now honor the late former governor by creating a state public service award in his name.

Baker and Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito, who hangs Cellucci’s official portrait in her State House office as recognition for his guidance through her early legislative career, on Tuesday will announce the Governor Paul Cellucci Award for Leadership and Mentoring in State Government.

The award will be given to any executive branch or higher education employee with at least two years of experience who has demonstrated leadership in mentoring and “fostering of a supportive and learning environment amongst colleagues.”


The first winner will be announced in the fall.

Jan Cellucci, the wife of the former governor who died of ALS in 2013, said her husband, a Hudson native, placed a huge value on the team he built during his long career as a state representative, state senator, lieutenant governor, and governor.

“It also gave Paul enormous joy, even as he faced the realities of ALS, that many members of his administration were inspired to continue to serve the Commonwealth,’’ she said in a press release announcing the award. “Our family remains indebted to their service and is so grateful that others will be encouraged to follow Paul’s example through this award.”

The most prominent of Cellucci’s team is Baker, who served with Cellucci in the Weld administration as human services secretary. He served as Cellucci’s secretary of administration and finance.

“Working with and for Governor Paul Cellucci for eight years allowed me to learn and benefit tremendously from his insights and collaborative spirit,” said Baker.

“Like so many others, I was able to advance because of his interest in my growth and development and willingness to teach others what he already knew,’’ he said.


Also among them is Baker’s secretary of administration and finance, Kristen Lepore, who describes Cellucci as “one of the nicest and most genuine persons I have ever met.”

Frank Phillips can be reached at frank.phillips@globe.com.