Two Gilmour graduates, Mr. Gary Cohn (`79) and Mr. Robert Lighthizer (`65) are taking substantial roles in President Donald Trump’s administration. Cohn, former President and COO of Goldman Sachs, is the new Director of the National Economic Council (NEC). Lighthizer, partner of Skadden, Arps and former deputy trade representative under President Reagan, will be taking the cabinet level position of U.S. Trade Representative.
The NEC director advises the President of domestic and international economic policies. As leader of the NEC, the director implements economic policy with the assistance of cabinet members and advisors. After Trump selected Cohn, the President said in a press release, “As my top economic advisor, Gary Cohn is going to put his talents as a highly successful businessman to work for the American people.”
The U.S. Trade Representative develops and negotiates U.S. domestic and international trade policies. After selecting Lighthizer, President Trump said in a press release, “Ambassador Lighthizer is going to do an outstanding job representing the United States as we fight for good trade deals that put the American worker first.” Lighthizer’s confirmation is still pending.
Cohn mentioned his time at Gilmour in a Goldman Sachs podcast, ‘Exchanges at Goldman’, after the election. He said how former Headmasters, Br. Robert Lavelle, C.S.C., and Br. Carl Shonk, C.S.C., motivated him while growing up with dyslexia. Cohn said, “It was interesting to start seeing people believing you.” Gilmour Academy has traditionally embraced whole-person teaching. Br. Lavelle, C.S.C., commented, “We try to look at ways in which the mission and charisms are not just words on the wall, but the culture of the school.”
Mrs. Kathleen Kenny, Head of School, told The Lance, “Gary had a fierce determination to achieve.” Kenny was an English teacher while Cohn was a Lancer. Mr. Richard Grejtak, Instructor in English, noticed Cohn’s leadership qualities. Grejtak noted, “Gary showed incredible leadership potential when he was a senior in high school when he was the chief organizer of the widely popular school carnival.”
Lighthizer attended Gilmour as a resident hall student because he is originally from Ashtabula, Ohio. Faculty members who knew Lighthizer agreed that he was a hard-working and ambitious student. Lighthizer’s accomplishments at Gilmour led to his enrollment at Georgetown University, where he earned his Bachelor of Arts and Juris Doctor degree. Lighthizer’s nephew, James Lighthizer, also went to Gilmour and graduated in 1984.
This is not the first time a Gilmour graduate was a part of a President’s administration. Mr. John Snow (`57) was the 73rd U.S. Secretary of the Treasury in President Bush’s cabinet. Regarding multiple graduates in the White House, Mr. Matthew Lindley, Instructor in Social Studies and Social Studies Department Chair, said, “It’s certainly a feather in the cap for Gilmour.”
Students around campus appear amazed by graduates who excel in the nation’s highest positions. Matt Roddy (`18) said, “It’s great that Gilmour alums are shaping the future of our country. It really shows you that anything is possible.” Erin Dietrick (`17) said, “I feel a sense of pride knowing alumni are involved in the highest form of government.” Chris Sonnhalter (`17) said, “Gilmour graduates really inspire me to become an inspiration for others.”
Kenny had these words to share with all current students: “Seize every opportunity that your Gilmour education is providing you.”