Why Washington Needs More People Like Donna Shalala

Donna Shalala comes to Washington.

Donna Shalala, elected to Congress last year from Florida, successfully ran three universities before going into politics—she was president of Hunter College, chancellor of the University of Wisconsin, and president of the University of Miami.

A Washington insider once told me he thought that more college presidents should be brought into the national government because to succeed as college presidents they had to learn how to balance a variety of competing interests. That, he said, is the way to get things done in Washington.

As a college president, Shalala showed a practical side. Her mother was a top-ranked tennis player and Donna became a very good tennis player. But when she became a college president, she took up golf.

Asked why, she said, “I want to ride in golf carts with alumni who can write $50,000 checks.”

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