Weather Updates

Ex-Mayor Daley heading to Harvard

Mayor Daley participates CHA Legends Community Center dedicaticeremony as part his neighborhood appreciatitour Friday April 15 2011. | Jean Lachat~Sun-Times

Mayor Daley participates in the CHA Legends Community Center dedication ceremony as part of his neighborhood appreciation tour, Friday, April 15, 2011. | Jean Lachat~Sun-Times

storyidforme: 20987415
tmspicid: 6623329
fileheaderid: 1895662

Updated: December 13, 2011 8:24AM

Former Mayor Richard M. Daley needed three tries to pass the bar exam. He was once so inarticulate that he took public speaking lessons to overcome that.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel has trashed his predecessor and political mentor virtually every chance he gets, even though he never mentions Daley’s name in a negative light.

But none of that has stopped Harvard, the nation’s most prestigious university, from offering Chicago’s longest-serving mayor a “visiting fellowship” this fall.

Daley’s stint will take place at Harvard’s Institute of Politics at the John. F. Kennedy School of Government the week after Thanksgiving.

Visiting fellows meet with students, lead discussions and take part in public policy classes.

Daley also will take part in the school’s 19th biennial Seminar on Transition and Leadership for Newly-Elected Mayors, offering his insights to new mayors from big cities around the country. The Nov. 30-to-Dec. 2 seminar is co-sponsored by the U.S. Conference of Mayors, an organization Daley once led and which he immersed himself in during his 22 years in office.

“We wanted him to give advice to mayors, based upon his experience as a mayor, and things they ought to look out for and broader issues they’re gonna face,” Trey Grayson, director of Harvard’s Institute of Politics, said Wednesday. “We also love bringing former elected officials to campus to expose them to our students. Rather than having him just give a speech to 500 students, the fellowship allows a lot of smaller opportunities to have candid, off-the-record conversations in small groups over meals and coffee about how he got interested in politics, how he got elected, decisions he’s proud of and maybe decisions he’d like to do over.”

Grayson said he wasn’t at all turned off by the trashing that Daley has taken since leaving office.

“The next person is always gonna do things differently,” Grayson said. “One of the things we’re looking to talk to him about is: If he were still mayor, what would he be doing? Since it’s off-the-record, he might say, `I’d be doing the same as Emanuel’ or `I might be doing it differently.’ He’ll be able to deliver that kind of candor.”

Since leaving office May 16, Daley has lined up a series of retirement gigs:

He signed on with Katten Muchin, a Chicago law firm that got $822,760 in legal fees from the Daley-engineered deals that privatized the Chicago Skyway, city-owned downtown parking garages and all Chicago parking meters.

He’s planning to write a book about his life in Chicago politics.

He has signed up with a speaker’s bureau, hoping to make $50,000 a speech.

He signed on to organize 10 guest lectures a year for the next five years as a “distinguished senior fellow” at the University of Chicago.

And he’s leased space on Michigan Avenue for an undisclosed business venture with his son, Patrick Daley.

The Harvard fellowship comes with a “modest stipend” and free housing during Daley’s stay in Cambridge, Mass.

In March, 2010, Daley was a study group guest at Harvard, along with New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and former Miami Mayor Manny Diaz.

© 2014 Sun-Times Media, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be copied or distributed without permission. For more information about reprints and permissions, visit To order a reprint of this article, click here.