Mayor Menino Has a Brand New Job At Boston University—And a Customized Cane

He talked about both of them at Boston University, where he will soon begin working.

Photos By Steve Annear

Photos By Steve Annear

Mayor Tom Menino had his pick of educational institutions where he could have worked after his 20-year stint as an elected official, but he picked Boston University, where he will become the co-director of the Initiative on Cities.

“I wanted to stay right here in Boston,” Menino said at a press conference Wednesday, where he quipped that he “didn’t have a passport” to cross the river to get to Harvard.

While people have been joking that Menino will now be known as “professor,” rather than mayor, he won’t be picking up chalk (do they still use that in schools?) when working with students at BU.

Instead, he will have an open-door policy at his office on Bay State Road and will make frequent appearances in the classroom setting to talk about urban initiatives and urban growth. “If they want me to go to classes, I’ll go to classes … I’m in the business to make a difference in peoples’ lives. That’s what it’s all about,” Menino said, sitting alongside BU president Robert Brown.

Menino’s role, which officially starts in February, will be co-directed by Graham Wilson, chairman of the school’s political science department. The aim of the project is to connect policymakers, residents from other cities, and examine the development of infrastructure and community services, Brown said.

When asked why Menino was specifically offered the role as director of the Initiative on Cities, Brown said the mayor has an ability to bring elected officials from around the country together to share ideas about urban mechanics. “The mayor is a great convener. He is great at bringing cities together,” he said.

Until he gets situated at his new digs, moving from City Hall—where he admittedly didn’t spend much time behind a desk—to his new office, Menino will work in conjunction with the university to prepare for the position. “I won’t sit around until then,” said Menino.

His new job wasn’t the only thing Menino was flaunting during the announcement at BU on Wednesday. Still reeling from a Red Sox World Series win here in Boston, the mayor was getting around with a brand new cane that was shaped like a Louisville Slugger baseball bat. The bat, given to him by close friends, has each Red Sox World Series win engraved on the base. Menino, who swapped out his regular cane for the new customized bat on Sunday, was happy to show it off.

“Here you go buddy,” he said holding it up for photographers. “A friend of mine gave it to me.”

New cane. New job. Same Menino.