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Chief of Staff Named Presidential Leadership Scholar

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    Rudy Fernandez

    Rudy Fernandez

    CORAL GABLES, Fla. (February 1, 2017) – Rudy Fernandez, chief of staff to UM president Julio Frenk and vice president for government and community relations, is among 60 leaders across the nation selected for the third class of Presidential Leadership Scholars (PLS) program, a unique leadership development initiative that draws upon the resources of the presidential centers of George W. BushWilliam J. ClintonGeorge H.W. Bush, and Lyndon B. Johnson.

    “I am honored and humbled to be included among this distinguished group of leaders,” said Fernandez, one of only two 2017 class members from Florida.”The first 20 years of my career have had a public policy focus, so this will be an invaluable opportunity to study presidential leadership and leverage the resources of these four prestigious presidential centers.”

    As chief of staff, Fernandez serves as a senior advisor to UM President Julio Frenk on strategic objectives and operational issues, often leading major initiatives on behalf of the president. Fernandez also served as chief of staff to former UM President Donna E. Shalala, and he played a key role in the presidential transition at UM.

    Prior to joining the University, Fernandez was special assistant to the president for intergovernmental affairs in the George W. Bush White House. He also held senior positions in the U.S. Department of Transportation, the Bush-Cheney 2004 Campaign and the Republican National Committee. He has a bachelor of arts degree in government from Harvard University and an M.B.A. from the University of Miami.

    Comprised of  veterans, educators, public servants, and corporate professionals, the third PLS class was selected after a rigorous application and review process, and was based on each member’s leadership growth potential and the strength of personal leadership projects aimed at improving the civic or social good by addressing a problem or need in a community, profession, or organization.

    Over the course of several months, the scholars will travel to each participating presidential center to learn from former presidents, key administration officials, and leading academics. They will study and put into practice varying approaches to leadership, develop a network of peers, and exchange ideas with mentors and others who can help them make an impact in their communities.

    The program begins in Washington, D.C. on February 7, where scholars will visit the National Archives and Records Administration, Mount Vernon, and the White House Historical Association, and explore personal and professional development areas, including core values and civility.

    The latest class, which also includes Rory Diamond, the chief executive officer of K9s For Warriors, in north Florida’s Neptune Beach, joins the alumni network of 121 scholars in the program.

    To learn more about the Presidential Leadership Scholars program, visit


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