Rudy Fernandez among 2017 Class of Presidential Leadership Scholars

Rudy Fernandez among 2017 Class of Presidential Leadership Scholars
Rudy Fernandez among 2017 Class of Presidential Leadership Scholars
Rudy Fernandez

The Presidential Leadership Scholars (PLS) program, a unique leadership development initiative that draws upon the resources of the presidential centers of George W. Bush, William J. Clinton, George H.W. Bush, and Lyndon B. Johnson, has announced the 60 scholars invited to participate in the program’s third annual class.

Rudy Fernandez, University of Miami’s chief of staff to the president and vice president for government and community relations, was named among the scholars — a group comprised of veterans, educators, public servants, and corporate professionals.

“I am honored and humbled to be included among this distinguished group of leaders,” Fernandez said. “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 university 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 university 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 MBA from the University of Miami.

The third PLS cohort was selected after a rigorous application and review process. Scholars were selected based on their leadership growth potential and the strength of their personal leadership projects aimed at improving the civic or social good by addressing a problem or need in a community, profession, or organization.

As announced in December 2016, over the course of several months, 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 began in Washington, DC on Feb. 7, where scholars visited 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.

To learn more about the Presidential Leadership Scholars program, visit

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