Professor of Social Welfare and Public Policy Fernando Torres-Gil has been named the recipient of the 2013 "Legacy of Leadership" award from the White House Fellows Foundation & Association and received his award on Friday, Oct. 25.
Torres-Gil, a former chair of the Social Welfare department and director of the Center for Policy Research on Aging, served as a White House Fellow in 1978-79.
Fellows work as full-time, paid special assistants to senior staff in the White House, the Office of the Vice President, and federal Departments. Past program participants include Colin Powell, Gen. Wesley Clark, Labor Secretary Elaine Chao and Dr. Sanjay Gupta, as well as members of Congress, judges, CEOs and nonprofit executives.
The child of Mexican immigrants in rural California, Torres-Gil has focused his academic career on those that are less fortunate. He is the author of six books and more than 100 articles on gerontology, the disabled and immigrant populations. In addition to his academic credentials, he has served various roles in government, including as Assistant Secretary for Aging in President Clinton's Department of Health and Human Services. President Obama named him Vice Chair of the National Council on Disability in 2010.
Named for program founder John W. Gardner, a public servant who led the implementation of Medicare in the Johnson Administration, the Legacy of Leadership award honors outstanding program alumni. Gardner "challenged all White House Fellows to commit to a lifetime of public service: to return to their communities after their Fellowship year and become agents of change and renewal," the award commendation reads. "By any measure, Fernando has lived all the values of the White House Fellows program."
Torres-Gil will accept the award at the Fellows' Leadership Conference in Washington, D.C., on October 25.