November 5, 2019

Adelphi Alumna Named a 2020 White House Fellow

by Choya Randolph, MFA '18

Elizabeth Daitz Lombardo ’02, JD, the New York City Police Department (NYPD)’s inaugural Executive Director, Civil Litigation, was chosen as a 2019–2020 White House Fellow. The White House Fellowship provides professionals from diverse backgrounds an opportunity to engage in public service by serving in various roles in the federal government.

“The White House Fellowship is the most exciting professional experience imaginable,” said Lombardo. “There is no better way to learn about, appreciate and protect our system of government than from inside the White House.”

Lombardo is placed at the Office of the Chief of Staff, where she will participate in roundtable discussions with leaders from the private and public sectors and take trips to study U.S. policy domestically and internationally.

Lombardo’s selection was highly competitive and based on professional accomplishments, leadership skills, potential for further growth and a commitment to service. As the NYPD inaugural executive director, Lombardo has dedicated her time to improving the quality of police service to the community. During her tenure with the NYPD, new lawsuits challenging police action declined by 50 percent, contributing to almost $100 million in taxpayer savings in the last fiscal year.

“In my job placement in the Office of the White House Chief of Staff, I observe how policy is developed in the executive branch.  I am learning about a wide range of issues unrelated to my past professional experience as the NYPD’s Executive Director, Civil Litigation, from ‘industries of the future,’ like artificial intelligence, to the national workforce strategy,” she said.

“A key part of both the education program and my job placement is the study of leadership,” she continued.  “Most recently, I had the great privilege of sharing lunch with one of my first heroes and fellow New Yorker, General Colin Powell, to talk about the value of the people on the team you build around you. Conversations like this one are key to developing the skills necessary to lead large organizations, and there is no larger, more dynamic or complex organization than the federal government. I look forward to bringing these lessons back to Adelphi, Long Island and the men and women I serve with in the NYPD.”

It was at Adelphi that Lombardo realized she wanted to be a lawyer. Since graduating, she successfully worked for the New York City Law Department’s Office of the Corporation Counsel, where she served as lead attorney on many high-profile cases for almost nine years. She then began her tenure working for the NYPD.

“The Honors College at Adelphi University prepared me to engage with senior leaders across the government and the private sector, to think critically and present information defensibly,” she said. “Adelphi groomed me to be a well-rounded professional, conversant in literature, the arts and social sciences. Aside from the quality of my Honors College education, the support and encouragement of Dean Richard Garner and the Honors team remains a crucial part of why I was selected as a White House Fellow. I hope my experience can help others who dream big accomplish their goals and feel confident that the Adelphi Honors College experience will be something they continually lean on and look back to as a source of strength throughout their professional career.”

The White House Fellows program was founded in 1964 by President Lyndon B. Johnson. The mission is “to provide gifted and highly motivated young Americans with first-hand experience in the process of governing the Nation and a sense of personal involvement in the leadership of society,” according to the White House Fellows website. The program continues to be a nonpartisan program that has maintained this tradition during both Republican and Democratic administrations. Today the goal remains the same: encouraging active citizenship and service to the nation.


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