Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen named Distinguished Presidential Fellow at UM

After 29 years as a representative for Florida’s 27th Congressional District, Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen will be stepping away from meetings in Washington and into classrooms at the University of Miami. She has been named a Distinguished Presidential Fellow and will begin teaching at UM during the 2019 Spring semester.

The class, called Congress and American Foreign Policy, will be the first in a series of classes taught by Ros-Lehtinen and offer students a unique opportunity to hear about Congress from an insider’s perspective.

Ros-Lehtinen has been involved in Florida’s government since 1982 when she was elected to the Florida State House of Representatives. She became a member of the Florida Senate in 1986 and was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1989. She was the first Hispanic woman to serve in each of these government bodies.

Senior lecturer in UM’s political science department, Arthur Simon, was elected to the Florida House the same year as Ros-Lehtinen. He said she served with distinction and that she would be re-elected for another term in Congress if she was not retiring.

“She has a tremendous amount of legislative knowledge,” Simon said. “You might say she’s my idol in a way.”

Ros-Lehtinen’s first class will focus on Congress’s influence on American foreign policy, with a specific emphasis on the Cold War era and beyond. Her husband, former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida Dexter Lehtinen, will also contribute his knowledge to the lectures.

UM administration established the Distinguished Presidential Fellows and Scholars program as part of its “Roadmap to Our New Century 100 Talents” initiative. The program seeks to attract accomplished scholars who can contribute their unique talents to the UM community.

Ros-Lehtinen earned a doctorate in education from UM in 2004 and is looking forward to returning, the university said.

“I’m excited to be back home at the U where I will have the challenging opportunity to exchange ideas with today’s bright minds and future leaders on the vexing foreign policy issues confronting our nation,” Ros-Lehtinen told News@theU.