Four Tulane alumni join Biden administration

Sophie Brams, Staff Reporter

Joe Biden took office just over a week ago, and four Tulane alumni have been tapped to serve in the new President’s administration. 

Danielle Conley, who graduated from Tulane in 2000 with a B.A. in English and African and Diaspora Studies, has been asked to serve in the role of deputy counsel to the president, which is a senior staff appointment. In this position, Conley will advise the president and vice president on legal issues that may arise concerning the executive office. Conley previously worked as a partner for Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP and as associate deputy attorney general for the Department of Justice office of the attorney general

Dr. Rachel Levine, who received an M.D. from Tulane Medical School in 1983, has been asked to join the administration as assistant health secretary for the Department of Health and Human Services. This office oversees major public health policy as well as the office of the surgeon general and the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps. Levine currently serves as the health secretary for the state of Pennsylvania in addition to teaching pediatrics and psychiatry at Penn State College of Medicine. If confirmed to the appointment, Levine will be the highest-ranking transgender official in the federal government, making this appointment a historic one

Shalanda Young, who earned a Master’s degree in health administration from the Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine in 2001, has been selected to serve as deputy director for the Office of Management and Budget in the Biden administration. Young spent 14 years on the appropriations committee and worked closely with the newly retired Appropriations Chair Nita Lowey, D-N.Y. Young was the first Black woman to serve as staff director of the committee when she was promoted to the position in 2017. Young has already proved her effectiveness as she has worked with the Biden transition team to secure votes for a $2 trillion COVID-19 relief package. 

Cedric Richmond, who graduated from Tulane Law School in 1998, has been tapped as senior adviser and director of the Office of Public Engagement. Formerly known as the Office of Public Liaison, this office works at the local, state and federal levels to ensure that community leaders and diverse perspectives have the opportunity to inform the work of the President. In order to take on this new position, Richmond will be giving up his U.S. House seat as representative for Louisiana’s 2nd congressional district, which he has served in since 2011.

Tulane President Mike Fitts said he is proud of the former Tulanians and all they have accomplished. 

In the true spirit of Tulane, all four of these alumni have devoted their lives to public service,” Fitts said. “With their appointments in President Biden’s new administration, they will now be able to continue their passion for helping others on a national scale.” 

In addition to these four appointees, Robin Keegan, an adjunct professor in the Tulane School of Architecture and School of Social Work, has joined the Department of Housing and Urban Development as deputy assistant secretary for economic development. 

This is a testament to her achievements and to the caliber of instructors we have teaching at Tulane,” Fitts said in reference to Keegan’s appointment.