Institute of Politics announces fellows for fall 2014

The University of Chicago Institute of Politics has selected a group of prominent social and political figures as the Institute’s fellows in residence for the fall of 2014.

The fellows for this fall are writer Kevin Bleyer, columnist Megan McArdle, labor organizer Eliseo Medina, former Congressman Patrick Murphy and Republican political strategist Steve Schmidt.

When the fellows come to campus in September, they will participate in public forums and lead seminars, drawing on their experiences and professional networks to provide unique insights into politics and policy for UChicago students, faculty and the local community.

“I am thrilled to welcome such a distinguished and exciting class of fellows,” said Institute Director David Axelrod. “Their rich and diverse experiences will give our students and the university community a wonderful array of perspectives.”

The fellows’ career highlights include:

Kevin Bleyer is the author of Me The People: One Man’s Selfless Quest to Rewrite the Constitution of the United States of America and co-author, with Gov. Bill Richardson, of How to Sweet-Talk a Shark. A multiple Emmy award-winning writer with “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart,” he has contributed to President Barack Obama’s speeches since 2008.

Megan McArdle, a columnist for Bloomberg View and a graduate of University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business, writes mostly about economics, finance and government policy. She is the author of The Up Side of Down: Why Failing Well Is the Key to Success.

Eliseo Medina served as secretary-treasurer of the Service Employees International Union and was a former board member of the United Farm Workers. He is described by the Los Angeles Times as “one of the most successful labor organizers in the country.”

Patrick Murphy, a former Democratic congressman from Pennsylvania and the first Iraq veteran to serve in Congress, currently anchors the MSNBC show “Taking The Hill.” He has written an autobiography entitled Taking the Hill: From Philly to Baghdad to the United States Congress.

Steve Schmidt is a political and public relations strategist who has advised presidential and gubernatorial candidates such as George W. Bush, Arnold Schwarzenegger and John McCain, as well as senior decision-makers at global corporations, professional sports franchises, non-profit organizations and academic institutions. A political analyst for MSNBC, he appears frequently on “Real Time with Bill Maher” on HBO.

During the Spring Quarter, the Institute hosted six fellows: Roger Simon, Michael Steele, Ana Marie Cox, David Muir, Bob Inglis and Howard Wolfson. All of them held seminars with students and community members on topics such as the rebranding of American politics, the role of social media in politics and activism, the U.S. energy policy, truth and authenticity—or the lack thereof—in politics, big city mayors instigating change and Europe after the economic crash.

Fellows also met one-on-one with students and brought special guests to speak at the Institute—Wolfson, the former deputy mayor of New York City, hosted Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, while Roger Simon hosted Rev. Jesse Jackson and some of his colleagues from POLITICO, including Mike Allen and Jim Vandehei.

Since its launch in January 2013 the IOP has presented more than 400 guest speakers, hosted 34 fellows and more than 200 fellows seminars, and placed more than 500 students in internships around the world.

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