Reince Priebus, a Miami Law alumnus and chairman of the Republican National Committee, has been tapped to be White House chief of staff for President-elect Donald J. Trump.
A Wisconsin native, Priebus graduated from the University of Miami School of Law cum laude with a J.D. degree in 1998. First elected chairman of the RNC in 2011, he is credited with deftly reorganizing the RNC and digging it out of financial turmoil.
As chief of staff, Priebus is being looked upon as a positive connector between the Republican establishment and the Trump White House.
William P. VanderWyden, assistant dean for professional development at Miami Law, worked closely with Priebus during his three years at the law school.
“Always a positive personality in the law school community, he was an encouraging and influential force among his peers,” said VanderWyden, who was associate dean of students when Priebus was at Miami Law.
While on campus, Priebus served as president of the Student Bar Association from 1997-98. He regularly wrote columns for the law student newspaper, Res Ipsa Loquitur, where he was also a copy editor.
Law Professor David Abraham taught Priebus Immigration and Citizenship Law.
“Reince was a very engaged campus politician,” Abraham said. “I believe that having seen the complexity around the social, economic, and human aspects of immigration, Reince should be able to provide a nuanced understanding of what’s good for America and its people. Let’s hope he does.”
While at the law school, Priebus clerked for the Supreme Court of Wisconsin, the United States District Court, Southern District of Florida, and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund in Los Angeles.
VanderWyden said Priebus was also “instrumental in encouraging his peers to participate in the Class Gift Program that we administered in 1998.”