Jane Swift, the only woman to have served as Governor in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and former Lieutenant Governor and State Senator, is the spring semester’s Jerome Lyle Rappaport Visiting Professor by BC Law’s Rappaport Center for Law and Public Policy.
Swift brings a wealth of knowledge in public service and consulting with special emphasis on education technology. She is currently the president and executive director of an education nonprofit, LearnLaunch, Inc., and a senior advisor at Whiteboard Advisors in Washington, DC. She also served as CEO of education company Middlebury Interactive Languages from 2011-2017.
At BC Law, Swift is teaching a seminar entitled “Governing in the Facebook Era: Privacy, Propaganda, and Public Good.” Her community address on the impact of social media on equity in the US political system was held on January 15.
In 1990, at the age of 25, Swift was the youngest woman ever to be elected to the Massachusetts Senate. She was an active advocate for education reform and funding priorities and was instrumental in the passage of the Education Reform Act of 1993.
In 1998, she was elected Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts and three years later stepped up to the position of Governor after Governor Paul Cellucci resigned to become US Ambassador to Canada. During her gubernatorial tenure, Swift helped stimulate economic growth and improved public education through strong accountability, high standards, and standardized curriculum while concurrently implementing remediation programs for struggling students. Her leadership led Massachusetts public schools to become ranked among the best in America.
She also reduced the state income tax to help low-income families and advocated for better family and work balances. Following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, Swift received widespread acclaim for her actions. Notably, she was the first governor in the United States to give birth (to twins) while in office.
After her public sector work, Swift continued to be an active voice for education, particularly education technology in the private sector. She frequently speaks on the role of women in public service and education improvement. She is also a contributor to Working Mother magazine, and was a lecturer at Williams College. She received six honorary doctorates and has served as a fellow at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.
Swift is a North Adams native and received her bachelor’s degree in American Studies from Trinity College in 1987.
The Rappaport Visiting Professors in Law and Public Policy are a diverse group of public sector luminaries who spend a semester at Boston College Law School teaching a seminar on public policy, delivering a community address, and meeting with students, faculty, and members of the BC and Rappaport Center communities. They are chosen for their breadth of experience in the public sector.