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‘Exciting lineup of activities’

Educator takes full advantage of the Linden Ponds lifestyle

Created date

September 20th, 2016
Harvard alum Joe Cronin enjoys painting in his spare bedroom turned art studio at Linden Ponds, where he has connected with several other Harvard alumni.

Harvard alum Joe Cronin enjoys painting in his spare bedroom turned art studio at Linden Ponds, where he has connected with several other Harvard alumni.

After graduating from Harvard in 1956, Joe Cronin went on to build an impressive career in education. Now, he continues to consult but enjoys his retirement through pursuing passions and making connections. 

He began as a teacher in Braintree, Mass., and then taught for a while in California, where he also earned a Ph.D. in educational administration. Over the years, he served as Massachusetts’ first Secretary of Education and as an associate professor of educational administration and the associate dean at Harvard. He was also the Illinois state superintendent of education, tasked with desegregating schools in a dozen cities, including Chicago. 

Joe has also been the president of the Massachusetts Higher Education Assistance Corporation, president of Bentley College, and an advisor to senior education officials in the United Arab Emirates and Qatar. 

When asked what inspired him to work in education, Joe points to volunteer experiences in his youth.

“In the 1950s, I was active in the Boy Scout movement, and I really enjoyed that,” he says. 

Active retirement

Even though Joe has retired from full-time work, he continues to work as a consultant and as a professor of educational policy at Boston University. Last summer, Joe moved from Dorchester, Mass., to Linden Ponds in Hingham to be closer to his son.

“I visited three or four places, and Linden Ponds had the most exciting lineup of activities,” Joe says.

Since moving to Linden Ponds, Joe has gotten involved with the men’s discussion group, the arts council, and the political interest committee. 

He also sets aside plenty of time to work on his painting, which he has counted as one of his passions since he was a young boy. Joe works in acrylics and enjoys painting landscapes and seascapes based on postcards and photographs from his extensive travels. 

He has been to about 30 countries, including Turkey and Greece last year. He has a number of paintings depicting Moscow and St. Petersburg, as well as of Venice, which he says is his favorite place he has visited. 

Making connections

Joe has a spare bedroom at his Linden Ponds apartment home, which he has turned into an art studio. He lives among many other artists at Linden Ponds, and sometimes he brings his painting supplies to the on-site creative art studio to work among his neighbors.

“I just finished three paintings of Istanbul and Greece,” Joe says. “It’s a lot of fun.” 

Another perk of living at Linden Ponds, Joe says, is connecting with fellow Harvard alumni. Four men from Joe’s graduating class currently live at the community. 

Joe recently helped to organize his class’s 60th reunion, which he attended with fellow Linden Ponds resident Paul Carey Jr. 

“We have a get-together like that every five years, and it is wonderful,” Joe says.