Rudy Fernandez joined the University of Miami as Vice President of Government and Community Relations in February of 2007. He serves as the principal liaison between the University and federal, state, and local government offices, legislative bodies, local chambers, and community organizations. Under his leadership, the Government Affairs department has secured more than $300 million in public funding for the University of Miami.
Fernandez led the lobbying efforts that resulted in the passage of state legislation granting sovereign immunity protection to University of Miami doctors at Jackson Memorial Hospital. Governor Rick Scott signed this landmark bill in June of 2011. Estimates indicate that this law will save the University as much as $20 million per year in medical liability costs.
Before joining the University of Miami, Fernandez was a Special Assistant to the President in the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs under President George W. Bush from 2005 to 2007. In this position Fernandez served as one of the President’s senior liaisons to state and local elected officials throughout the country. During his White House tenure, Fernandez also worked on policy issues like immigration reform and Cuba policy.
Prior to joining the White House staff, Fernandez served as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Government Affairs at the United States Department of Transportation. He helped manage the Department’s governmental affairs staff, coordinating all legislative and non-legislative interactions between the Department and Congress.
Before serving at the Department of Transportation, Fernandez held senior positions in the Bush-Cheney Campaign and the Republican National Committee. From 2003 to 2004, he was the Southwest Regional Political Director for the Bush-Cheney reelection campaign, managing every aspect of President Bush’s reelection campaign in this important region of the country. Fernandez is credited for successfully leading the Bush-Cheney team to impressive victories in three hotly contested battleground states – Arizona, Colorado and New Mexico.
Before the Bush-Cheney campaign, Fernandez served as Director of Grassroots Development at the Republican National Committee. During his tenure at the RNC he led the Committee’s outreach efforts and played a key role in promoting President Bush’s agenda among all constituency groups across the ethnic, religious, and ideological spectrum.
During his tenures with Bush-Cheney ’04 and the RNC, Fernandez also played a leading role in the development and implementation of the Bush-Cheney Hispanic outreach strategy, helping the President increase his share of the Hispanic vote from 35% in 2000 to 44% in 2004. In recognition of his prominent role in the Bush political team, Hispanic Business Magazine named Fernandez one of the “100 Most Influential Hispanics” in the United States in 2002.
Fernandez’s career started when he accepted the job of Press Secretary to Florida Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen in 1999.
Fernandez has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Government from Harvard University and a Masters degree in Business Administration from the University of Miami. He was the recipient of both the Valedictorian and Leadership Awards in his MBA class.