Daily Mail - Lori Lightfoot is gearing up to start her new role as a Harvard lecturer - teaching a course on leadership despite her hugely controversial time as Chicago mayor.
The 61-year-old presided over four years dominated by soaring crime, war with teachers' unions and police, and battles with the City Council.
Under her watch, crime overall rose by 42 percent and the city's police complained about staff shortages and low morale: In May 2021, the Chicago Fraternal Order of Police issued a symbolic vote of no confidence against Lightfoot.
She was a lawyer before entering politics, and had an acrimonious relationship with the Chicago Teachers Union which saw an 11-day strike, and two actions during the height of the COVID pandemic.
Lightfoot clashed with the governor of Illinois, fellow Democrat J.B. Pritzker, and her relations with the media became so acrimonious she stopped holding press conferences all together: she stepped down on May 15 as the first mayor not to secure a second term in 40 years.
In June the Harvard Chan School of Public Health said Lightfoot was joining for a semester, and on Monday she told WBEZ she had started the job.
She said students told her they wanted to learn from her because she had been 'in the trenches'.
So it appears this is why Harvard's barrier to entry is so ridiculously strict, and why they charge $80,000 a year to learn in their hallowed halls.
The prestige, the notoriety, the access to the inner circles of business, politics, and the people who run the world, all well and good, and surely a major caveat of attending Harvard. But one could argue that Yale, Stanford, and Princeton offer just as much, albeit with plenty of hoops of their own to jump through, but not the gauntlet that is Harvard admissions. And now it all makes sense. Where else in the world do young minds have access to modern-day stoics and philosophers, titans of industry, and leaders of men that the history books will recount for generations to come?
Cambridge, Massachusetts. That's where.
Harvard landing Lori Lightfoot, the professor, might just be the biggest free agent signing of the decade.
Not that Harvard needs any help recruiting talent, or driving admissions whatsoever, this is just them flaunting that they're Harvard and they can get anybody they want.
Can you imagine the frenzy that was course registration the minute this class became available for sign-ups?
Can you imagine the finagling that went on between the Poli-Sci department chair, and dean, and the uber-elite kids parents who donate millions to the school, trying to get Lance into this class?
Her graduate-level course is entitled 'health policy and leadership', and will discuss the COVID pandemic and dealing with the media.
Her time as mayor was notable for her combative approach to the media, and the anger many on the press corps felt about her dealings with news crews.
By the end of her term, press conferences had become so hostile she refused to hold them at all.
'When you think about that context, and then try to communicate something in the midst of the noise, it's really complicated to do. And I want my students to be very clear-eyed about the challenges,' Lightfoot said.
This would be like getting to learn military strategy from General Patton.
Like learning the art of hitting a baseball from Ted Williams.
Like learning how to write from Ernest Hemingway.
You literally can't put a price on any of those because the experience itself, and the knowledge that would be bestowed upon you is invaluable. $80,000 a year is a fucking bargain.
Show me a public official who took the global pandemic on better and I'll call you a fool.
Did your leader stroll out on stage at a media press conference dressed as "The 'Rona Destroya"?
"Dealing with the media during a crisis" aka Courage Under Fire (perfect name for her autobiography, I'll let you use it Lor, my gift to you) epitomizes Lori's tenure in Chicago. Granted, she was only a 1 term Mayor, but what a term it was!
During the madness that was 2020-2022, while racial tensions reached a boiling point, public unrest and violence were at all-time highs, and murder and crime ran rampant, did your leader shy away from it all, or did they meet the real issues head-on like Lori did?
Teaching a class on how to handle the media also couldn't be more in Lori's wheelhouse. While mayor of Chicago Lightfoot fought with just about everyone, especially the media.
At one point, she said she wouldn't take questions from white reporters and eventually stopped holding press conferences altogether.
Talk about the perfect strategy to pass down to the next generation of leaders.
You can a lot of things about Lori Lightfoot, but one thing you have to agree with is that she left Chicago in a better place than she found it.
The numbers don't lie.
I reached out to the only smart people I know, who are Harvard-educated for their thoughts on this monumental announcement-
Francis Ellis - (Francis wrote this himself)
"Hello, Mrs…. Lightfoot? Am I saying that right?"
"Yes, though I prefer Madame Mayor Lightfoot."
"If you must."
"Do you have experience handling media during a crisis?"
"Do you have experience running a city?"
"Wonderful news. You're the first and only candidate we've interviewed with these credentials. The job is yours."
Seems pretty cut and dry to me. Harvard hired the right, and perhaps only, woman for the job.
Riggs - no comment.
p.s. - one of my best friend Keith's dad was kind of a burn out hippy who tried to become a pro golfer back in the 70s. It didn't work out so he moved up to new jersey and got some course pro job and decided he was just going to "attend" Princeton. He would show up on campus and sit in on science and physics classes (what he was interested in and good at). He wouldn't show up on test days and never got graded, but the way he tells it is he essentially got a semi-Princeton level education for free. He moved back to Michigan and started a business with what he learned. Today its one of the most successful and largest energy seal companies in the midwest thanks to Keith's dad and the inventions he patented. One of my favorite stories.
I say this because I would really appreciate somebody who goes to Harvard or is actually in this class to let me know when and where it is so that I can pop in and sit in on a class and get some first hand experience from Lori myself. I promise to tone it down and keep my excitement to myself. I think she'd actually enjoy having her #1 fan there in attendance.