Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick to Speak at Yale Dinner for Black History Month

Governor Deval Patrick will deliver the keynote address at the Annual Black History Month Dinner at a Yale residential college on February 13, 5:30 p.m.

Hosted by Pierson College and the Afro-American Cultural Center, the address and dinner are free and open to the public. However, seating, which is extremely limited, must be reserved in advance. Please call 432-1031 or email pc.mastersoffice@yale.edu for details and to check availability.

Patrick was elected Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in 2006, becoming the second African American governor in the nation ever elected to that office.

For more events celebrating Black History Month at Yale, download the complete calendar.


A native of Chicago, Patrick came to the Commonwealth at the age of 14 to attend Milton Academy as a scholarship student. After graduating from Milton, Patrick went to Harvard, the first in his family to attend college. He received his degree, with honors, in 1978 and spent a post-graduate year working on a United Nations youth training project in the Darfur region of Sudan. He returned to Cambridge to attend Harvard Law School in the fall of 1979.

Following law school, Patrick served as a law clerk to a federal appellate judge before joining the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund. In 1986, he joined the Boston law firm of Hill & Barlow and was named partner in 1990, at the age of 34.

In 1994, President Clinton appointed Patrick Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights, the nation’s top civil rights post. At the Justice Department, Patrick worked on a wide range of issues, including prosecution of hate crimes, employment discrimination and enforcement of fair lending laws and the Americans with Disabilities Act.

During his tenure, Patrick coordinated state, local and federal agencies in the investigation of church burnings throughout the South in the mid-1990’s. It was the largest criminal investigation conducted in the U.S. before September 11, 2001.

Patrick returned to private practice in 1997 with the Boston firm of Day, Berry & Howard. That same year, a federal district court appointed him the first chairperson of Texaco’s Equality and Fairness Task Force. Working with employees at all levels, Patrick led the reform of Texaco’s complex corporate employment culture, and created a model for fostering an equitable workplace. In 1999, Texaco hired Patrick as Vice President and General Counsel leading the company’s global legal affairs.

In 2001, Patrick joined The Coca-Cola Company as Executive Vice President and General Counsel. He was elected to the position of Corporate Secretary in 2002, and served as part of the company’s senior leadership team as a member of the Executive Committee.

The Governor has served on numerous charitable and corporate boards, as well as the Federal Election Reform Commission under Presidents Carter and Ford, and as Vice Chair of the Massachusetts Judicial Nominating Council by the appointment of previous Massachusetts Governor William Weld. 

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Media Contact

Dorie Baker: dorie.baker@yale.edu, 203-432-1345