President Barack Obama announced that he will nominate Board member Jose Fernandez ’77 as the Assistant Secretary of State for economic, energy and business affairs, on Wednesday, according to a White House press release. Fernandez is an attorney at Latham and Watkins LLP in New York, and was elected by alumni to the Board of Trustees in May 2002.
Calls to the Dartmouth Board of Trustees, the College’s Office of Public Affairs and Fernandez’s office were not returned by press time. A representative from the State Department said the department has a policy of not commenting on nominations.
Fernandez served on the presidential search committee that selected College President Jim Yong Kim in March to replace outgoing President James Wright, who officially left his post July 1.
Fernandez, a native of Cuba, studied history while at Dartmouth and was a member of Kappa Sigma Gamma now Chi Gamma Epsilon fraternity. He was also an avid outdoorsman, The Dartmouth previously reported. Fernandez was a member of The Dartmouth Staff, and also served on the Committee on Student Life while an undergraduate.
“I came from pretty much an urban setting, and I really tried to take advantage of the rural aspects of Dartmouth,” Fernandez told The Dartmouth in May 2002 after he was elected to the Board.
Fernandez primarily works in international commercial and banking law, specifically focusing on foreign investments, acquisitions and financings, according to the press release. He is the global co-chair of the Latin American practice at Latham and Watkins, according to the College’s web site.
After graduating from the College, Fernandez earned his J.D. from Columbia Law School in 1980. He then worked for a law firm in Spain, where he also pursued a professional basketball career, The Dartmouth previously reported.
Fernandez has also been actively involved with several initiatives of the American Bar Association, previously serving as co-chair the ABA’s Inter-American Law Committee.
He is also currently head of the Latin American and Caribbean division of the ABA’s Rule of Law Initiative, according to the ABA’s web site.
In 2003, working as commissioner of the NYC Latin Media and Entertainment Commission, Fernandez founded TeatroStageFest, an annual festival highlighting New York’s Latino theater companies, according to the event’s web site.
The Bureau of Economic, Energy and Business Affairs serves to “promote a coherent economic policy across the U.S. government” and “to promote economic security and prosperity at home and abroad,” according to the Bureau’s web site.
In the same announcement, Obama announced his intent to nominate Dennis Hightower as deputy secretary of the Department of Commerce, Jeffrey Goldstein as Under Secretary for Domestic Finance of the Department of the Treasury and Alberto Fernandez as Ambassador to the Republic of Equatorial Guinea.