Professor of Practice & Co-Director, Center for Public Leadership, Harvard Kennedy School
Originally from the South Side of Chicago, Patrick attended Milton Academy, thanks to the organization A Better Chance, then Harvard College & Harvard Law School. After law school, he clerked for a federal appellate judge & then launched a career as an attorney and business executive, becoming a staff attorney at the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights in the Clinton administration, a partner at 2 Boston law firms and a senior executive at two Fortune 500 companies. In 2006, in his first bid for elective office, he became Massachusetts’ 71st governor, the first Black person to serve in the role. During his 2 terms, Patrick expanded health care to over 98 percent of the Commonwealth’s residents, made unprecedented investments in Massachusetts public schools and public infrastructure, & launched initiatives stimulating clean energy & biotechnology. Under his leadership, Massachusetts ranked first in the nation in student achievement, energy efficiency, health care coverage, veterans’ services, & entrepreneurship, & emerged from recession to achieve a 25-year high in employment. After his time in public office, Patrick founded & built an impact investment fund at Bain Capital, the 1st fund in a major financial institution to focus on delivering both superior financial return & significant positive social impact. He continues to invest in mission driven business as a Senior Advisor to Bain Capital & a board member. Patrick remains involved in progressive politics, currently as co-chair of American Bridge 21st Century through its BridgeTogether initiative, which supports local grassroots groups working to build engagement among disenfranchised & marginalized voters. Patrick is a Rockefeller Fellow, a Crown Fellow of the Aspen Institute, & author of two books, A Reason to Believe: Lessons from an Improbable Life and Faith in the Dream: A Call to the Nation to Reclaim American Values. He divides his time between Cambridge & Western MA.