|To the University of Miami Community:|
I am delighted to share that yesterday the Talent and Compensation Committee of the University of Miami Board of Trustees voted in support of promoting Rudy Fernandez to executive vice president for external affairs and strategic initiatives and chief of staff, effective today. Rudy has a unique role with broad leadership scope, which has expanded over time, most recently by assuming responsibility for the Board of Trustees office, University system-wide communications (including UHealth), and dotted-line oversight of the athletics department on my behalf.
In addition to the expanded breadth of his role, Rudy has performed in an extraordinary manner. He has served as the senior vice president for public affairs and communications since June of 2017, he oversees University Communications, and he created the Public Affairs division to better coordinate all communication and external relations efforts. He has nurtured successful relationships with federal, state, and local government entities, leading our legislative strategy. As chief of staff, Rudy manages the Office of the President, as well as the board office, and works with the board and executive leaders across the enterprise in developing and implementing long-range strategies on behalf of the institution.
Prior to joining the University in 2007 as vice president for government and community relations, Rudy spent a decade in Washington, D.C. He was special assistant to the president 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. Rudy has a B.A. from Harvard University and an M.B.A. from the University of Miami. He is a member of Iron Arrow and sits on the Orange Bowl Committee.
The Talent and Compensation Committee also approved the promotion of Raena Wright to vice president for government affairs and community relations, effective today. Raena has been with the University of Miami for seven years and has held the roles of assistant vice president for government relations, before her current role of associate vice president for state and federal government relations, which she has held since 2017. She is a key member of Rudy’s team, who has ably led our advocacy efforts in Tallahassee and Washington, D.C.
In addition to her career at the University, Raena has over six years of experience in various roles within Florida’s government, including serving as legislative aide for two Florida state representatives, an analyst for Attorney General Bill McCollum, and deputy legislative aide in the Florida Senate. As all of us who have worked with Raena know, she is a strong and effective voice for the University’s interests with particular emphasis on public policy. As vice president, she will continue to report directly to Rudy, serving as the chief strategist in developing the University’s government affairs agenda, including but not limited to, education appropriations, medical school funding, community initiatives, and political matters, as well as advocating for other
University priorities. Raena holds a B.S. and a Master of Applied American Politics and Policy degree from Florida State University.
Please join me in congratulating both Rudy and Raena on their new roles. Their talent and passion for our mission will continue to benefit our students, patients, and community.