Editorial, Opinion

EDIT: Professor Thomas M. Menino

Several Boston-area schools refuse to let Boston Mayor Thomas Menino’s legacy fade out when he officially leaves office.

Menino has already declined an offer to teach at Harvard University, citing a conflict of interest as the main concern, according to various news outlets. Northeastern Univerity, University of Massachusetts-Lowell and Boston University are among the other schools offering Menino a spot on their faculty. Luckily for BU, Menino has not hinted he will turn the position down — but he also has not accepted any offers.

Two political science professors at BU think if Menino were to start teaching he would join their department, according to a WednesdayDaily Free Press story.

While becoming a professor would be a huge change from being mayor, it is a logical transition. What do you do with so much accumulated knowledge about how to clean up and make a whole city a better, safer and more beautiful place? Share it. He could just check out and retire, but his work ethic shows no sign of slowing down, even after he announced he was not going to run for re-election after two decades in office.

BU administrators have also taken steps to convincing Menino to accept a professorship. As part of a community outreach program, BU offers 25 Boston high school seniors full tuition for four years. As of June, the BU Boston High School Scholarship Program was renamed the Thomas M. Menino Scholarships on its 40th anniversary.

Look at BU. It is the largest academic institution in Massachusetts based on total enrollment. BU’s outreach in the city is monumental compared to other schools, purely because of its size and location. We are constantly building, holding concerts and making a general splash in Boston and the surrounding communities. Visitors park on the BU campus to attend Red Sox games. The school’s presence dominates Commonwealth Avenue. between Kenmore Square and Harvard Avenue.

The school also employs some notable faculty. Elie Weisel works here, and he is known globally for his political activism. Isaac Asimov, one of the most important thinkers in cosmology, biochemistry and the Cold War, taught at BU. It’s professors such as these that make BU so appealing. It’s professors such as these that draw international students. Menino could join the ranks of some very famous and inspiring academic professionals.

Regardless of what Menino chooses to do next, we can expect him to continue working within Boston, whether his work involves students or born-and-bred Bostonian communities. How can someone be so incredibly involved in the city for 20 years and just stop working?

Menino gave back to people in the community for so long, and it is commendable that he is considering taking a teaching position to continue to contribute his expertise to the city. His career has been driven by the students of Boston, especially because the city is so dominated by them. He understands that students here are just as much a part of the city, even if their tenure may last only 4 years.

If he came to BU, it would serve both parties so well — the longtime Boston champion would continue to serve the future of his city, and the students who make up that future would have a key mentor in finding their voices as leaders.

Imagine raising your hand and asking, “Professor Menino, how did you balance the budget 15 years ago?” Except this time, you won’t have to watch his answer on a television screen.

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