Former Mass. Governor Deval Patrick to Co-Lead Harvard Kennedy School Center for Public Leadership


Former Massachusetts Governor Deval L. Patrick ’78 will join the Harvard Kennedy School next week as a professor and co-director of the Center for Public Leadership, the school announced Tuesday.

Patrick served as the first Black governor of Massachusetts between 2007 and 2015. After declining to run for a third term as governor, he took a position with Bain Capital. Patrick briefly returned to politics in 2019 when he launched a failed bid for president in the 2020 election.

“I am thrilled that Governor Patrick will be joining Harvard Kennedy School,” Kennedy School Dean Douglas W. Elmendorf said in a press 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."

Patrick said it was an “honor” to be joining the Kennedy School.


“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,” Patrick said in a press release. “I am looking forward to working alongside and encouraging leaders like that at the Kennedy School.”

David R. Gergen, founding director of the Center for Public Leadership, said in an interview that he was “ecstatic” to have Patrick join the center, calling him a “first-class guy.”

“I’m excited about him coming, but I think he’s also going to bring a more intense focus to leadership itself,” Gergen said.

Gergen also said he anticipates Patrick and current director Hannah R. Bowles will complement each other very well as co-directors.

“He will be more Mr. Outside versus her Ms. Inside,” he said. “I think they make a great team.”

Bowles wrote in a press release that she was excited to be co-directing the center with Patrick.

“I am honored and overjoyed to have this opportunity to partner with Governor Patrick in leading CPL,” Bowles said. “Our students will benefit tremendously by learning from him as [a] role model and from his depth of experience with thorny and meaningful leadership challenges.”

Gergen said the Kennedy School should be “very grateful” Patrick is joining the faculty.

“A man of Deval Patrick’s stature, his character, his positive view of the future, I think will be an inspiration to not only the students but to the faculty and the staff,” he said.

—Staff writer Miles J. Herszenhorn can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @MHerszenhorn.