A message from Dean Douglas Elmendorf

To the HKS Community, 

I am very pleased to announce that Professor Anthony Foxx will become co-director of our Center for Public Leadership on July 1.

Anthony Foxx will work with current co-director Hannah Riley Bowles and with all of the faculty, staff, and students who are affiliated with CPL. Professor Deval Patrick, who is currently the co-director with Hannah Riley Bowles, has decided to focus his efforts on other activities beginning in July. 

I am grateful to Deval Patrick for his service to HKS as co-director of CPL and grateful to Anthony Foxx for taking up this important role. 

Please see more information in the press release below. 



Anthony Foxx named co-director of Harvard Kennedy School’s Center for Public Leadership, succeeding Deval Patrick, starting July 1 

Anthony Foxx, the Emma Bloomberg Professor of the Practice of Public Leadership at Harvard Kennedy School, has been appointed as the next co-director of the School’s Center for Public Leadership (CPL), starting July 1. Foxx will serve alongside Hannah Riley Bowles, the Roy E. Larsen Senior Lecturer in Public Policy and Management. Bowles co-directs the center currently with Professor of the Practice of Public Leadership Deval Patrick, who informed HKS Dean Douglas Elmendorf of his plans to step down in June from the co-director position. Patrick will remain on the HKS faculty. 

Patrick previously served as the governor of Massachusetts, in addition to senior roles in law and business. “It has been a pleasure co-directing the Center for Public Leadership,” said Patrick. “Mentoring the School’s students has been a true gift, and I am honored to have had the chance to encourage and support these dedicated emerging leaders. With Anthony taking on the co-director role, I know that the important work of strengthening the next generation of public leaders will continue.” 

Elmendorf, who announced the news to the Kennedy School community today, said, “I am so grateful to Deval Patrick for his contributions in directing the Center for Public Leadership. He has been a model of public leadership for our students and a force for good in the Kennedy School community.” Elmendorf said, “And I am delighted that Anthony Foxx has agreed to serve as co-director of the Center. Anthony brings great experience as a public leader, especially in championing innovative and equitable transportation infrastructure at the local and national levels of government. Our students already benefit from his teaching and will now have further opportunities to learn from him.” 

Foxx joined the Kennedy School faculty in 2023 and is affiliated with the Bloomberg Center for Cities at Harvard University. He previously served as the 17th U.S. secretary of transportation and led the department’s efforts to advance new technologies, promote public–private partnerships, and address inequities. As secretary, he established guidelines for autonomous vehicles, launched the Department of Transportation’s Smart City Challenge, and set new standards for fair and equitable transportation decision-making. 

“I have long admired the mission of CPL and can think of no more important work than preparing a new generation to assume the mantle of leadership,” Foxx said. “And I am excited to join Hannah in nurturing new leaders committed to improving their societies.”

Prior to his tenure at the U.S. Department of Transportation, Foxx served as mayor of Charlotte, North Carolina, for two terms, and was the youngest person to hold that office. As mayor, he focused on transportation investment, achieving a record low crime rate, and expanding business and job growth, among other issues. In addition to his public sector roles, Foxx has served as chief policy officer for the rideshare service Lyft. He holds a BA in history from Davidson College and a JD from New York University. 

“Anthony has deep public-sector experience—at the Department of Transportation and as the mayor of Charlotte,” Bowles said. “I am enthusiastic about the opportunity to work alongside him at the helm of the Center for Public Leadership. I am thankful for my time co-directing the center with Deval, who has been a stellar example of public leadership and service.” 

You can learn more about Foxx in a 2023 HKS Faculty Focus Q&A.