Jerry Abramson, formerly the Mayor of Louisville, Lieutenant Governor of Kentucky and Deputy Assistant to the President and Director of Intergovernmental Affairs at the White House, has accepted the position of Executive in Residence at Spalding University, Spalding President Tori Murden McClure announced Tuesday.
Abramson will teach undergraduate and graduate classes at Spalding and is expected to play a role in Spalding’s development of academic programs focused on juvenile criminal justice reform and restorative practices. He will be available to teach and guest lecture in courses on comparative leadership, public finance and innovation in all levels of government, including perhaps in Spalding’s doctorate of education in leadership (EdD) program.
Abramson will start at Spalding on June 1. He currently serves as executive in residence and teaches at Bellarmine University. He’s departing at the conclusion of the current semester due to the elimination of the position.
“I’m excited for the opportunity at Spalding to continue working with and teaching young people in Louisville, focusing on the importance of civic engagement,” Abramson said. “Supreme Court Justice and Louisvillian Louis Brandeis believed the most important political office in America is that of the private citizen. I agree with that philosophy and want to help energize our next generation to better reflect the characteristics of citizenship in America.”
“I applaud the unique position Spalding fills in our regional higher-education landscape and its commitment to providing high-quality, affordable education to a diverse community of learners. I look forward to supporting President McClure. Tori was once a part of my mayoral administration, and I’ve long admired and respected her for her intellect and leadership.”
McClure early in her career served as a policy assistant in the Mayor’s office, and she is delighted to have the opportunity to work with him again.
“I’m thrilled to add Mayor Abramson to our team at Spalding,” McClure said. “His experience and expertise in so many areas will be invaluable to our students and faculty. He is one of the most respected leaders in Louisville, and Spalding will be a better place for having him in our classrooms and representing us in the community.”
Abramson’s most recent position in government was as Deputy Assistant to the President from November 2014 to January 2017. As Director of Intergovernmental Affairs, he oversaw the Obama administration’s domestic agenda with state, city, county and tribal elected officials across the country.
From 2011-14, he served as Kentucky’s Lieutenant Governor alongside Gov. Steve Beshear.
Prior to his tenure in state government, Abramson was Louisville’s longest-serving mayor with 21 years in office. He served three terms as mayor of the old City of Louisville (1986-1999) and two terms as mayor of the merged Louisville Metro Government (2003-10), overseeing the successful consolidation of the city and Jefferson County. His long tenure earned him the nickname “Mayor for Life.” He is a past president of the United States Conference of Mayors.
Abramson began his public service with two terms as an Alderman of the City of Louisville, then served as Counsel to Gov. John Y. Brown Jr.
In the private sector, Abramson practiced law with Greenebaum Doll and McDonald, and thereafter with Frost Brown Todd. Abramson has taught classes at the University of Louisville’s law school and at Bellarmine and been a guest lecturer at many other colleges and universities, including Harvard University, Georgetown University, Boston University, Indiana University and the University of Kentucky. He is a former member of the Spalding Board of Trustees.
Abramson received his bachelor’s degree in business economics and public policy at IU. He received his juris doctorate from Georgetown University Law Center. He and his wife, Madeline, have a son, Sidney, and a daughter-in-law, Kandice. Madeline Abramson received an honorary doctorate in public service from Spalding in 2010.