SCICU President Perez selected to become Riley Fellow

COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities (SCICU) is pleased to announce the selection of President L. Jeffrey Perez, Ph.D., for the 13th class of the Riley Institute at Furman University’s Diversity Leaders Initiative (DLI).

DLI draws leaders throughout South Carolina for participation in groups located in the Midlands, Upstate, and Lowcountry regions. Prospective class members are identified through a rigorous process including nominations from existing Riley Fellows, application, and interview. Individuals are selected to join the class based on their capacity to impact their organizations and communities.

“Discovering ways in which differences can strengthen our organizations is critical as we seek to grow and support a thriving economy and rich culture,” said Dr. Donald Gordon, executive director of the Riley Institute.

Juan Johnson, a Riley Institute senior distinguished fellow and former Coca-Cola vice president for diversity strategy, facilitates the DLI classes.

“DLI is unique among South Carolina’s leadership programs. In addition to the opportunity to develop new relationships and take part in positive action in their communities, participants gain deep knowledge of how to effectively manage and lead diverse workers, clients and constituents,” said Johnson.

Over the course of five months, DLI participants will take part in a highly interactive curriculum consisting of case studies, scenario analyses and other experiential learning tools that maximize discussion among classmates and facilitate productive relationships. The DLI class will form five Capstone project groups that will respond to current community issues.

“I am humbled to be associated with such an inspiring group of community and business leaders who join me in the DLI Class of 2020,” said Perez. “We all have much to learn from each other, and we will all benefit from the experiences and perspectives of Don Gordon and Juan Johnson.”

DLI graduates become Riley Fellows, members of a powerful, cross-sector, statewide leadership network that includes CEOs of corporations, mayors, city and county council members, legislators, school superintendents, pastors and rabbis, non-profit heads, chamber of commerce directors, and community leaders.

“There are now more than 2,200 Riley Fellows statewide. Each new class further extends the reach and impact of leaders willing to work together to make South Carolina a better place to live and work for all residents,” said Gordon.

More information on the Diversity Leaders Initiative, including the Class of 2020 participant list, is available at

In addition to his Diversity Leaders Initiative involvement, Perez also serves on the South Carolina Chamber’s Education and Workforce Development Committee and Governor McMaster’s Complete Census Count Committee.

For more information on SCICU, please visit

ABOUT SCICU – SCICU supports and promotes the values of independent higher education in South Carolina. SCICU seeks to advance higher education through fundraising, scholarships, and research, as well as by facilitating collaborative activities among the 20 member institutions. SCICU also enhances a positive public image and encourages government policies that support independent higher education.


For more information, please call Shay Shealy West, SCICU Director of Communications, at (803) 799-7122 or email

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