Former Mass. first lady next Presidential Forum on Diversity speaker

Publication Date

Attorney Diane Patrick, an advocate for access to education and healthcare, will speak Monday, Sept. 19, at 5 p.m. in the Nott Memorial.

Her talk, “Don’t Stand Alone: My Stake in Your Dreams and Yours in Mine,” is part of the Presidential Forum on Diversity series. The lecture is free and open to the public.

Patrick has practiced law for 32 years. Specializing in labor and employment law, she is a partner in the Boston office of Ropes & Gray, an international firm.

She has chaired the firm’s diversity committee for a number of years. The firm has been recognized nationally for its diversity, with women making up about 40 percent of the attorneys in its U.S. offices and minorities accounting for nearly 17 percent.

Patrick is married to Deval Patrick, former governor of Massachusetts. As first lady, Patrick’s biggest platform was speaking out against domestic abuse and sexual assault.

Growing up in Brooklyn, N.Y., Patrick attended New York City public schools, earned her degree in early childhood education from the City University of New York, and taught in the public school system for five years. She decided to attend law school when her teaching position was eliminated during a financial crisis in New York City.

She continues to devote her spare time to organizations whose focus is the education, health and well-being of young people. She sits on the boards of the Posse Foundation, the Epiphany School, Massachusetts General Hospital and the United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley.

To view Patrick’s bio, click here.

The Presidential Forum on Diversity was established in 2006 by President Stephen C. Ainlay to bring in notable speakers on a wide range of topics that promote diversity and inclusiveness.

Previous speakers have included poet Maya Angelou, journalist and television news anchor John Quiñones, Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson, faith leader Eboo Patel, Broadway star Anthony Rapp, actress Marlee Matlin and Rob King, who oversees ESPN’s SportsCenter.