Today, FIU College of Law Dean R. Alexander Acosta was sworn in as the 27th United States Secretary of Labor. Secretary Acosta is the first FIU administrator or faculty member to serve in a cabinet-level position.
“We are thrilled that one of our own has been confirmed as the U.S. Secretary of Labor,” said FIU President Mark B. Rosenberg. “Dean Acosta will bring to Washington the same work ethic, integrity and passion that helped make our College of Law one of the best in the state, and among the top 100 in the nation. Acosta comes to his cabinet post with significant federal experience, which is critical, given the challenges and opportunities in the areas of jobs and workforce development.”
Acosta, 48, joined FIU in 2009. Before coming to FIU, he served as the United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida.
Under Acosta’s stewardship, FIU Law has raised its national profile dramatically and earned a reputation for excellence and student success. The college ranks among the top 50 nationally for job placement, according to U.S. News and World Report.
“Serving as dean of the FIU College of Law has been an honor and privilege, and I am deeply grateful to have shared in our students’ journeys over the years,” said Acosta. “Students, alumni, faculty and staff have become an extension of my family, and I will miss working with them. FIU will always remain dear to me, and I look forward to watching it continue to unlock its limitless potential.”
A native of Miami and first-generation university graduate and lawyer, Acosta earned his undergraduate degree from Harvard College and his law degree from Harvard Law School. After serving as law clerk to Justice Samuel A. Alito, Jr., then a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, Acosta practiced law at the firm of Kirkland & Ellis and taught law at the George Mason School of Law.
Acosta has previously served in three presidentially-appointed, senate-confirmed positions. He was a member of the National Labor Relations Board, where he participated in or authored more than 125 opinions. He went on to be the first Hispanic to hold the rank of Assistant Attorney General before becoming U.S. Attorney in 2005. He is the first Hispanic confirmed for a position in President Donald Trump’s cabinet.
In the coming days FIU Provost Kenneth G. Furton will name an acting dean of the FIU College of Law. The university will conduct a national search for Acosta’s successor.