Jerry Abramson

Louisville “Mayor for Life” Jerry Abramson is returning home after working at the White House for two years and will rejoin Bellarmine University, school officials confirmed Wednesday morning.

Insider Louisville broke the news of Abramson’s return to Louisville to pursue academia, not politics.

He starts next week as Bellarmine’s executive in residence, the university said in a press release. In that capacity, he will teach courses in leadership and civics, in addition to developing and ultimately directing a new institute on local government leadership.

This marks Abramson’s second stint at Bellarmine as executive in residence. He first took on the post, which entailed both teaching and organizing lectures and workshops, in 2011.

“I’m excited to return to Louisville and be back on a college campus, working directly with young people,” Abramson said in the release. “I’m looking forward to bringing my experience in local, state and federal government to Bellarmine’s students, and helping local governments across the nation innovate and better serve their communities through a new institute that I’m developing.”

The mission of the institute will be to train elected local government officials from across the country, including city council presidents and officials serving large urban counties.

Bellarmine’s interim president, Dr. Doris Tegart, said in the release that Abramson “is one of the most dynamic and energetic public servants in our city, commonwealth and nation, and I’m excited to welcome him back to Louisville at Bellarmine. He will be a remarkable asset for Bellarmine’s students, with his deep understanding of public policy issues across our academic offerings, including business, health care, education, environmental studies, communication, and the arts and sciences.”

Abramson was Louisville’s longest-serving mayor — first serving three terms as mayor of the city pre-merger (1986-1999), followed by two terms as mayor of Metro Government after the city merged with Jefferson County (2003-2011).

Opting against running for a third and final term as Metro mayor, Abramson joined the ticket of then-Gov. Steve Beshear and was elected lieutenant governor of Kentucky in 2011.

In late 2014, Abramson was tapped to serve as deputy assistant to President Barack Obama and director of Intergovernmental Affairs in the White House. According to a press release at the time, Abramson would serve as “the nexus between the president’s domestic agenda and city, county, state, and tribal governments,” helping state and local governments “manage policy issues and challenges, such as infrastructure, natural disasters, and public health.”

Abramson holds a bachelor’s degree in business economics from Indiana University and a law degree from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.

IL reached out to Abramson late last week upon learning from a source that he was heading to Bellarmine. In response to questions about his post-White House plans, he said, “I’ve been told by the White House I can’t discuss it until I’m officially off the payroll.”

Now that it’s official, IL plans to catch up with Abramson later this week.

Sarah Kelley has spent the past 15 years in journalism, pursuing a wide range of stories — from covering federal courts in Washington, D.C., including the trials of 9/11 terrorist Zacarias Moussaoui and former vice presidential Chief of Staff Scooter Libby, to investigating prosecutorial misconduct in capital cases in Nashville, Tenn. In 2008, Sarah returned to her native Louisville to work for LEO Weekly, where she served as editor until 2013. Email Sarah at [email protected]


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