2014 Archives

Bush Center names SMU administrator interim director of Presidential Leadership Scholars program

September 16, 2014

DALLAS (SMU) – Linda S. Eads, SMU associate provost and law professor, has been selected to serve as interim executive director of the Presidential Leadership Scholars program, launched by President George W. Bush and President Bill Clinton on September 8. 

Linda S. Eads with President Bill Clinton, SMU President R. Gerald Turner, President George W. Bush and SMU Vice President for Development and External Affairs Brad Cheves.
Linda S. Eads (center), SMU associate provost and law professor, will serve as interim executive director of the new Presidential Leadership Scholars program. She is pictured with (l. to r.) President Bill Clinton, SMU President R. Gerald Turner, President George W. Bush and SMU Vice President for Development and External Affairs Brad Cheves. The program launched in September, and is a partnership among the presidential centers of George W. Bush, William J. Clinton, George H.W. Bush and Lyndon B. Johnson.

The Presidential Leadership Scholars program is a partnership between the presidential centers of George W. Bush, William J. Clinton, George H.W. Bush and Lyndon B. Johnson. The program is designed to embolden future leaders in any sector with the practical skills needed to drive solution-oriented action.

Eads will spend half time with the SMU Office of the Provost performing her duties as associate provost, and half time with the Presidential Leadership Scholars program for the 2014 fall semester through December. A search for a permanent executive director is being conducted.

“I’m excited to work with Linda to design a program and process that will allow us to train highly motivated people with a track record of leadership from across all sectors and backgrounds — private, public, nonprofit, military and academia — and to apply the lessons, concepts and ideas they learn through the program to the complex opportunities and challenges that lie before them,” said Margaret Spellings, president of the George W. Bush Presidential Center.

As interim executive director, Eads will be responsible for collaborating with Dr. Paul Almeida, senior associate dean of executive education at the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University, and his colleague at the McDonough School, Dr. Michael O’Leary, as well as with program staff at the Bush Center and the Clinton Foundation.  Together, they will manage the program’s application and admission process, continue to develop the curriculum and program sessions, and assemble a faculty that will include academic scholars and officials from presidential administrations.

“I am very pleased to be participating in developing this leadership program,” Eads said. “It has the potential to create leaders in communities around the country who will be able to make difficult, principled decisions not based on a narrow agenda or their personal advancement.”

The first class of Presidential Leadership Scholars will be selected by the end of the year. Applicants may come from the private, public, nonprofit and military sectors and should generally have 10 years of experience.  The priority in seating each class of Presidential Leadership Scholars will be ensuring the highest quality candidates, and the expectation is that classes will include between 40 and 60 scholars.

“When SMU competed to be the location of the George W. Bush Presidential Center, we envisioned partnerships that would tap the talent and resources of the University in developing educational programs associated with the library, museum and institute,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner.  “Our aspiration is becoming a reality. At the same time, SMU is benefitting from relationships with visiting scholars participating in Bush Center programs.” 

In her half-time work with the SMU Office of the Provost, Eads will continue to direct the undergraduate Hunt Leadership Scholars Program, as well as handle faculty hiring, salary and sabbatical matters.

“We’re proud of the fact that Associate Provost Eads will play a leadership role in shaping what can be a model program drawing from the resources of the four presidential centers,” said SMU Provost Paul Ludden. “Her organizational skills and scholarly work in the field of ethics will be essential in helping to build the leadership program.”

For the past two years, Eads and several other SMU faculty have worked with the George W. Bush Institute as instructors and mentors in its Women’s Initiative Fellowship program, initially for women from the Middle East.

Eads was named SMU associate provost in 2011. She joined the faculty of Dedman School of Law in1986, focusing on the areas of evidence, legal ethics, constitutional law and women and the law.

She has received the University Scholar-Teacher of the Year Award, the SMU Golden Mustang Teaching Award and the Dedman Law School’s Don Smart Teaching Award (four times). In 2009, Eads received the Lola Wright Foundation Award of the Texas Bar Foundation, given to one lawyer each year for outstanding public service in advancing legal ethics in Texas. The Texas Lawyer named her one of 30 Extraordinary Women in Texas Law.

From January 1999 to August 2000, Eads was on leave from SMU to serve as deputy attorney general for litigation under then Attorney General John Cornyn.  Before joining SMU, Eads served as a trial attorney with the Tax Division of the U.S. Department of Justice.

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SMU is a private university enrolling nearly 11,000 students in seven degree-granting schools with close ties to the Dallas community. SMU is celebrating its centennial era, recognizing the 100th anniversary of its founding in 1911 and its opening in 1915.

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