On Tuesday, May 10, 2022, the Department of Political Science was joined by honored guest Governor Charlie Baker to induct new members into the Delta Gamma Chapter of Pi Sigma Alpha.
Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker joined the Department of Political Science and members of the Northeastern community in celebrating the accomplishments of students last week at the Pi Sigma Alpha Induction Ceremony. Governor Baker was introduced by Department Chair and Professor of Political Science, Costas Panagopoulos, and longtime friend and former colleague, Robert DeLeo, the former Massachusetts Speaker of the House and Northeastern University Fellow for Public Life.
Pi Sigma Alpha is the national honors society for political science, and induction ceremonies across the country and at hundreds of institutions formally welcome new members to campus chapters each year. Northeastern University’s chapter, Delta Gamma, currently has over 1700 lifetime members since its founding in the 60s. On Tuesday May 10, 2022, 25 new members were inducted into the Delta Gamma chapter. These students represent some of the best and brightest Northeastern has to offer: students must be in the top third of their class, and maintain academic excellence in their political science courses to qualify for membership.
Governor Baker began his remarks by congratulating students on their academic success, acknowledging that he himself “had never been inducted into any honor society when he was a student.” At that, Professor Panagopoulos smiled. Little did Governor Baker know that by the end of the night he would be honorarily inducted into the Delta Gamma chapter himself.
Despite no longer working colleagues, Speaker DeLeo and Governor Baker are still aligned in their thoughts and principles: that cooperation and strong communication were key to their success while working together. DeLeo himself noted that their teamwork was out of the ordinary across the country, adding that his counterparts in other states assumed a Republican (Baker) and a Democrat (DeLeo) would have a contentious working relationship and have trouble getting anything done. “I’d tell them to move the conversation along. We had no trouble working together. In fact, we actually like working together!”
The larger theme of his remarks was a lesson that was applicable in both life and in public work: “You become better as a person, a public official, and a politician from listening.” Developing strong listening skills is also what he attributes his election to the office of the governor to. “The first time around, people thought I was talking too much; that I spent too much time thinking about a response to a question that I never actually answered the question in the first place. After that, I listened a whole lot more than I talked.” He attributes this life lesson to his mother and father, who shared the adages “you have two ears and one mouth for a reason,” and “some people have a really good transmitter, but their receiver isn’t really working.”
He ended his remarks by sharing that his wife asked him when they were first dating the classic question of “what do you want to be when you grow up?” to which he responded: “I want to be relevant.” It’s safe to say he did become “relevant,” something that Professor Panagopoulos noted in his introduction: “Governor Baker consistently scores among the highest, if not the highest, approval ratings across the country.”
Students were able to ask Governor Baker questions after his lesson on communication. Among them were topics of his greatest and most memorable successes – “Election night. 2014. With 40,000 more votes.” – and the next frontier for Massachusetts – “I hope we can flip the parameter on health care and address time based needs, rather than the transaction and technology methods.”
When asked about if he regrets his time in office or if he would change anything, Governor Baker smiled, shook his head and said: “Looking back, I’d still do it all over again in a heartbeat.”
View photos of the event below: