Paradigm Award Recipients
Former White House Chief of Staff , President & Chief Strategist, Michael Best & Friedrich LLP
Reince Priebus was born in New Jersey to parents Dimitra Pitsiladis and Richard Priebus. His father served in the US Army in Ethiopia before meeting his mother in Sudan, where she worked at the American Embassy. Although Dimitra was born in Khartoum, Sudan, her family was originally from Mytilene, Lesbos. The Priebus family eventually moved to the Midwest, settling in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
“As a young kid in Wisconsin, I grew up going to Greek Orthodox Church surrounded by a strong, faith-based community. The values I heard from Scripture and witnessed in the actions of that community helped shape me, and taught me what it means to live a life cloaked in faith and guided by principles,” said Mr. Priebus.
Mr. Priebus volunteered for his first political campaign at the age of 16, before graduating from Tremper High School in Kenosha. He went on to attend the University of Wisconsin, Whitewater, graduating cum laude with a degree in English and Political Science before attending the University of Miami School of Law.
While attending law school, Mr. Priebus served as Clerk for the Wisconsin Court of Appeals, the Wisconsin Supreme Court, and the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida. He also interned for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund in Los Angeles before graduating with a Juris Doctor with honors.
Mr. Priebus has a long history in politics as a grassroots volunteer, working his way up through the ranks of Wisconsin politics. In 2009, he served as general counsel to the Republican National Committee, before being elected to serve as Chairman in 2011. He oversaw a dramatic turnaround of the Committee—rescuing its finances, repairing its operations, and rebuilding its ground game. During Priebus’ tenure, Republicans expanded their majorities in the House of Representatives, took back the Senate and ultimately, won the presidency in 2016. He left his role as one of the most successful chairmen of either political party in American history.
Mr. Priebus is a proud Greek American, supporting Hellenic issues and bringing them much-needed national attention. He has been a vocal supporter of US-Greece relations and a strong advocate of Hellenic values such as free speech, freedom of belief, and education. In 2011, Mr. Priebus became an Archon of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, Order of Saint Andrew the Apostle.
“Let us think of education as the means of developing our greatest abilities, because in each of us there is a private hope and dream which, fulfilled, can be translated into benefit for everyone and greater strength for our nation.”
JOHN F. KENNEDY