2015 – David Rockerfeller Letter to the White House Fellowship

New York, NY 10020

August 15,2015

Dear Members of the White House Fellows Community:

Fifty-one years ago, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed Executive Order 11183, creating the White House Fellows Program. He announced the program in a meeting at the White House with student leaders from rumpuses around the country and invited them to apply for the Fellowship. More than 2300 did apply and the President’s Commission on White House Fellowships, which I was privileged to chair, selected fifteen superb Americans. They served as special assistants to ten cabinet officers and five senior White House staff, where they would be introduced to the complex task of governing a modem democracy.

The rest is history. Fifty-one classes of Fellows have been chosen. From your ranks have emerged presidential candidates, cabinet secretaries, admirals and generals, governors, senators and representatives, judges, corporate CEOs, university presidents and deans of prestigious graduate schools, non-profit executives and scientists Without exception, Fellows have taken the time to lead and create organizations dedicated to the betterment of our nation, just as President Johnson and John Gardner had hope you would. Both men would be extremely pleased to see what you have accomplished since that day in June 1965 when we announced the first class.

I am, as well, proud of all of you, and offer my congratulations on your performance as White House Fellows and your stunning accomplishments as leaders in every aspect of our national life. This comes with my gratitude for your enduring commitment to public service.

As you gather in Washington for the 50th Anniversary Celebration of the White House Fellows Program, it is my hope you will dedicate yourselves to ensuring that the next fifty years of the White House Fellows Program remains a continuing symbol of excellence for developing leaders In our national life.


David Rockerfeller