Former Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot lands teaching gig at Harvard after leaving office

Lightfoot will reportedly teach a course titled ‘Health Policy and Leadership’

Former Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot is taking on a new role in education, less than a month after she left office.

Beginning this fall, Lightfoot will teach a course at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health tentatively titled “Health Policy and Leadership,” according to an announcement from the school.

Lightfoot, who left office on May 15 after losing re-election, will serve as the Richard L. and Ronay A. Menschel Senior Leadership Fellow at the school beginning at the end of August.

Lori Lightfoot will serve as the Richard L. and Ronay A. Menschel Senior Leadership Fellow at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. (Kamil Krzaczynski/Getty Images)

The Menschel program, according to the school, “offers a rare opportunity for those who have recently served in top-level positions in government, multilateral institutions, nonprofit organizations and journalism to spend time at the school mentoring and teaching students who aspire to similar roles. Lightfoot will hold regular office hours to meet with students, faculty and staff during her time on campus.”

“As mayor, she showed strong leadership in advocating for health, equity, and dignity for every resident of Chicago, from her declaration of structural racism as a public health crisis to her innovative initiative to bring mental health services to libraries and shelters. And of course, she led the city through the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Michelle A. Williams, dean of faculty at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, according to CBS News.

Lori Lightfoot seen holding a mic and speaking on stage in July of 2022
Mayor Lori Lightfoot speaks during Lollapalooza at Grant Park on July 28, 2022, in Chicago. (Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images)

Lightfoot celebrated the news on Twitter, writing, “I’ve always loved teaching, and the opportunity to get back to it is something I am excited about. Looking forward to sharing the experiences and perceptions I learned governing through one of the most challenging times in American history with the @HarvardChanSPH community!”

Previous Menschel fellows, according to the Chicago Sun-Times, have included several former mayors and governors. Former New York Mayor Bill de Blasio and former Boston Mayor Kim Janey have both served as Menschel fellows.

Harvard said in its announcement that “Lightfoot led a coordinated, citywide response across government, business, and community organizations to safeguard public health and minimize economic impact from the COVID-19 pandemic.” 

The former mayor received criticism for her policies, including getting a haircut at the height of pandemic lockdowns after telling citizens to remain home, and for placing police officers who declined to receive a COVID-19 vaccine on leave without pay.

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