Alumni CLASnotes Fall 2007
In This Issue:

Alumni Spotlight

On the Sidelines of History: English Alumnus Doug Band Serves as Clinton’s Top Adviser

Doug Band and U.S. President Bill Clinton at the White House
Doug Band and U.S. President Bill Clinton.
Playing golf with Tiger Woods, sipping tea with the Queen of England and having dinner with Nelson Mandela are experiences most of us can only dream about. For English alumnus Doug Band, personal adviser to former U.S. President Bill Clinton, they’re perks of the job. But while he may have enjoyed having Paul McCartney sing to him on his 30th birthday, he keeps his ego in check, “Often I think people get caught up in positions like these and forget what this is all about: making a difference and helping people.”

Band has worked for Clinton for more than 12 years, starting out as a White House intern in 1995 shortly after receiving a B.A. in English from UF the same year. He worked his way up through the ranks, becoming the youngest deputy assistant ever to serve a president before concluding his last year in the Oval Office as the President’s Aide. Along the way, he managed to earn a law degree and a master’s in liberal arts from Georgetown University, taking night classes while working full-time at the White House.

“You break into this kind of work by believing in the inherent value and good of public service,” Band said. “You get out of it what you put into it, which is a valuable lesson I learned at UF. Hard work, determination and being driven to help other people have been key factors in getting to where I am.”

I couldn’t have done half of what I have done in my post-presidency without him.
–President Bill Clinton

Today Band is regarded as Clinton’s closest adviser—his right-hand man, so to speak. He manages every aspect of the former president’s life, from meetings with world dignitaries to joining him on family vacations. If you see Clinton in the news, you are highly likely to catch a glimpse of Band in the background. He’s even pictured on the back cover of Clinton’s 2004 autobiography, My Life.

Over the years Band has racked up many stamps in his passport—visiting 92 countries, 750 cities and every state in the U.S. He lives out of a suitcase, traveling at least 200 days a year, and has grown accustomed to 18-hour workdays. His itinerary is so jammed packed, in fact, he had to complete the interview for this story via BlackBerry on a flight back from London. While this grueling schedule might seem like a small price to pay in exchange for the opportunity meet the occasional rock star like U2’s Bono, the reason Band sticks around goes much deeper.

“The thing I most enjoy in my job is helping people,” he said. “I have been able to remain behind the scenes, making a difference and changing people’s lives.”

Doug Band and U.S. President Bill Clinton in the Oval Office
Doug Band and U.S. President Bill Clinton in the
Oval Office.
As the mastermind of the Clinton Global Initiative, Band has helped raised $30 billion in the past three years alone to be used around the world to combat global warming, alleviate poverty, improve education, fight AIDS and address other pressing health concerns. He presented the idea to the Clintons in 2002 and they let him plan, develop and initiate the project, which has become the center of Clinton’s White House afterlife.

Essentially the architect of Clinton’s post-presidency, Band is called upon by other retiring world leaders, including British Prime Minister Tony Blair, for advice on making the transition back into private life. As Clinton himself recently commented to Alumni CLASnotes through e-mail, “I couldn’t have done half of what I have done in my post-presidency without him.”

Band was born and raised in Sarasota, Florida. The youngest of four sons, he followed in the footsteps of two of his older brothers, Greg and Roger, when he became a student at UF. Greg Band earned a law degree from the university in 1990 and practices in Sarasota. Dr. Roger Band received a B.S. in microbiology in 1994 before earning an M.D. from Thomas Jefferson Medical College in 2001. He joins Doug and Clinton on international trips as Clinton’s road physician.

As an undergraduate, Band served as vice president of Sigma Phi Epsilon, president of the Inter-Fraternity Council and a member of Florida Blue Key. He also interned in D.C. for Congressman Dan Miller, R-Fla. Myra Morgan, Director of External Relations in the UF Division of Student Affairs, has known Band since he was an undergraduate and remains one of his close friends and mentors. “He was always a kid who had great ideas and a great vision,” she said. “I wasn’t exactly sure what he was going to be, but I knew we’d all look back one day and say ‘Wow, we knew him when.’”

Though his career often keeps him a world away from UF, Band is very proud of his alma mater. He visits campus as often as he can, flying down to meet his brothers for at least one Gator football game each season. Proud of the high quality of students UF produces, he regularly introduces fellow alumni to Clinton—like in March, when seven UF alumni attended the launch of Clinton Global Initiative University in New Orleans. Band was also highly influential in getting Clinton to come to UF as an ACCENT speaker in 2003.

“I don’t think there are words to describe my time at UF,” Band said. “It is not just an institution of higher learning, it’s a community, a family­—one that helped further the principles, ethics and morals that I had been taught all of my life.”

Morgan and a delegation of his childhood and college friends flew to Paris in August to attend Band’s wedding to successful handbag designer and entrepreneur Lily Rafii. Dozens of Gators joined Bill and Chelsea Clinton in celebrating the couple’s nuptials. The newlyweds can’t wait to start a family of their own, but when asked whether the firstborn will be named after one of the Clintons, Band said, “Not a chance! It’s going to be Albert or Alberta of course, at least that’s what I’m trying to ease my wife into.”

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