Moderator: Jennifer Bradley, Fellow and Senior Advisor, Metropolitan Policy Program, Brookings Institution
John Fry, President, Drexel University
Eduardo Padron, President, Miami-Dade College
Stephanie Miner, Mayor, City of Syracuse
Ester Fuchs, Professor of International and Public Affairs and Political Science, Columbia University
Jennifer Bradley is the founding director of the Center for Urban Innovation at the Aspen Institute. She joined Aspen in 2015 after spending seven years as a fellow at the Brookings Institution Metropolitan Policy Program.
John Anderson Fry, appointed Drexel University’s 14th president in 2010, has served higher education for his entire professional life. Through his roles as a consultant, board member, chief operating officer and chief executive, he has acquired a deep and broad understanding of the challenges of leading a major educational institution.
Ester R. Fuchs is Professor of Public Affairs and Political Science and Director of the Urban and Social Policy Program at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs. She served as Special Advisor to the Mayor for Governance and Strategic Planning under New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg from 2001 to 2005. Prof. Fuchs was chair of the Urban Studies Program at Barnard and Columbia Colleges and founding director of the Columbia University Center for Urban Research and Policy. Prof. Fuchs recently received the Distinguished Alumna Award from Queens College; Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs Award for Outstanding Teaching; and NYC’s Excellence in Technology Award for Best IT Collaboration among Agencies for Access New York.
Stephanie A. Miner is the 53rd Mayor of the City of Syracuse. Born on April 30, 1970, she became involved in politics at an early age, stuffing envelopes for local candidates at her Grandmother Cooney’s kitchen table in the Eastwood neighborhood.
She attended Syracuse University, graduating Magna Cum Laude with a B.A. in Political Science and Journalism in 1992.
After college, she worked as the Assistant Upstate Coordinator for Geraldine Ferraro for U.S. Senate and then served as Central New York Regional Representative to Gov. Mario Cuomo in 1994.
In 1999, Miner earned her J.D. from SUNY Buffalo and began working at Blitman & King, LLP as a labor lawyer, representing unions and employees.
Already deeply involved in politics, Mayor Miner became a Syracuse Common Councilor-at-Large in 2002 after winning city-wide election in 2001 when she was 31 years old. Re-elected to the Council in 2005, Mayor Miner received the most votes of any candidate on the ballot, including the incumbent Mayor. As a Councilor, she championed and helped pass legislation that gave $1 million in initial funding to Say Yes to Education, a program that provides necessary support services for Syracuse City School District students and promises free or reduced tuition to students who graduate from City high schools.
During her tenure on the Council, Mayor Miner established a reputation as a principled leader who asks tough questions. This led the Syracuse Post-Standard to endorse Mayor Miner’s 2009 candidacy for Mayor, calling her “principled,” “intelligent,” “energetic,” and a “passionate advocate.”
Mayor Miner was elected on November 3, 2009 in a three-way race, receiving 50.1% of the vote. She became the first woman elected Mayor of any of the “Big 5” cities in New York State.
An American by choice, Eduardo Padrón arrived in the United States as a refugee at the age of 15. Since 1995, he has served as President of Miami Dade College (MDC), the largest institution of higher education in America with more than 165,000 students. He is credited with elevating MDC into a position of national prominence among the best and most recognized U.S. colleges and universities. An economist by training, Dr. Padrón earned his Ph.D. from the University of Florida.