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NEW @ THE ACADEMY

Meet our Fellows: Patricia Florestano (‘86)

Dr. Patricia Florestano, a Fellow since 1986, has had an impressive career in Maryland Higher Education and politics. She began her career when few women were choosing a career path in Higher Education and Politics and received a doctorate degree in 1970 when only about 15% of the program was female. She prides herself on being a front runner for women in the field, and setting an example that other women can hold positions as she has. Even to this day, Patricia Florestano continues to be an advocate for women’s rights in her retirement by chairing a political group of democratic women as well as participating in a Planned Parenthood advocacy group. 

In Dr. Florestano’s career, she has been an assistant professor for the University of Maryland College Park, the Director of the Institute for Government Service at UMCP, the Vice Chancellor for Government Relations University System of Maryland, an Associate Professor of Public Affairs at the University of Baltimore, the Secretary of Higher Education and a Member of the Board of Regents. She was the longest serving member of the Board of Regents and retired after 15 years, although she still manages to continue to be involved.

She reflected fondly on a fulfilling career in a recent conversation with the Academy.

Reflecting on her career -

Dr. Florestano spoke about how important it is to have supportive mentors. She spoke on being the first in her family to graduate college and would not have gone for a graduate degree without the encouragement from her mentors. She credited two mentors specifically who helped her to be successful in her career, Congressman Steny Hoyer and Governor Parris Glendening.

The present -

Dr. Florestano has now moved to Naples, FL and since playing bridge and tennis all day weren’t very fulfilling, she got highly involved in 4 different organizations she is passionate about. She now chairs a group of democratic women, she is a part of a Planned Parent Advocacy group fighting for women’s rights, she is the Vice President of the Property Owners Association, and she is on her Condo Board. Even being involved in all of these organizations, Dr. Florestano still has time to work on projects for the Maryland Board of Regents and go to the beach.

Looking into the future of public administration -  

Dr. Florestano believes the current president has done damage to the democratic process, women’s rights and the freedom of the press. She worries about the future of America, as a democracy, because of the current president’s lack of understanding of the constitution. Dr. Florestano questions how we will protect democracy, women’s rights and the freedom of the press. She is also concerned about how to get young people to come into government instead of going into the private sector and she believes it will be tougher to get people once they graduate from college.   

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