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Senior Fellows

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Bryan Gordon

Bryan Gordon

Bryan Gordon (AS69) is a television and film director, writer, and producer. The University of Delaware alumnus was nominated twice for an Emmy and three times for the Director’s Guild Award. He received the DGA award for Curb Your Enthusiasm, having directed many episodes over its run. His numerous directing credits include The Office, Weeds, The West Wing, Freaks and Geeks, and The Wonder Years. He also directed and produced the cult favorite series Party Down on Hulu. He has directed numerous pilots—including One Tree Hill, setting the look for the show’s nine-season run. He directed the 30 for 30 documentary short for ESPN, “The Arnold Palmer, which was nominated for a Sports Emmy.

Gordon began his career as a comedy writer on the ABC variety show Fridays and as an independent filmmaker that included writing and directing the Academy Award-winning short Ray’s Male Heterosexual Dance Hall

Bryan was born and raised in Dover, Delaware. He’s a graduate of the University of Delaware, where he is honored to be a member of the University’s Wall of Fame. Bryan is married to filmmaker Jessie Nelson and they have a daughter, Molly Gordon, who has followed in the family business.

Domenico Montanaro

Domenico Montanaro

​​​Domenico Montanaro speaking as part of National Agenda's "Road to the Presidency" series in 2016.

​​Domenico Montanaro (AS01) is the National Public Radio (NPR) lead editor for politics and digital audience. Montanaro earned a bachelor's degree in English from the University of Delaware in 2001 and a master's degree in journalism from Columbia University in 2007. Based in Washington, D.C., he directs political coverage across the network's broadcast and digital platforms.

Before joining NPR in 2015, Montanaro served as political director for politics and law at PBS NewsHour. He led domestic political and legal coverage, which included the 2014 midterm elections, the Supreme Court, and the unrest in Ferguson, Missouri. Prior to PBS NewsHour, Montanaro was deputy political editor at NBC News, where he covered two presidential elections and reported and edited for the network's political blog, "First Read."

David Plouffe

David Plouffe


David Plouffe and Steve Schmidt discussed the 2012 election during a National Agenda “Road to the Presidency” presentation in November 2012.

Delaware native David Plouffe (AS10) left University of Delaware before graduating to begin a career in politics. He served as President Barack Obama’s campaign manager in 2008, helping steer victories over Hillary Clinton for the nomination and John McCain for the White House, and later became senior adviser to the president. Plouffe is now a University of Delaware graduate, having received his bachelor’s degree in 2010. He is chief advisor and board member of Uber and also serves on the board of the Barack Obama Foundation.

Plouffe, President Joe Biden (AS65), and Steve Schmidt (AS13) inspired Bloomberg News to call University of Delaware the academic epicenter of national politics in 2008.

Plouffe has managed campaigns at all levels of politics, served as an award-winning producer of television advertisements, served as a consultant to leading Fortune 500 companies and has been a ubiquitous presence on national news shows.

In 2010, Plouffe was number four on Newsweek’s list of “New Thought Leaders,” and The Daily Beast named him as one of the “25 Smartest People of the Decade.” GQ named Plouffe in 2012 the third most powerful person in Washington.

Plouffe is the author of The New York Times best seller, The Audacity to Win: The Inside Story and Lessons of Barack Obama’s Historic Victory and has been a contributor for ABC News and Bloomberg Television. In 2013, he was inducted into The American Association of Political Consultants’ Hall of Fame.

Steve Schmidt

Steve Schmidt

​Steve Schmidt joined David Plouffe for a post-election analysis in November 2012.

Steve Schmidt (AS13) is one of the premier public affairs and campaign strategists in the country. Schmidt, a co-founder of the Lincoln Project, has worked on numerous high-profile political campaigns, notably managing daily operations of John McCain's 2008 presidential campaign.

Before that he worked on Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s 2006 re-election campaign as campaign manager. He has been the Communications Director for the National Republican Congressional Committee. He has also served as a member of the senior strategic planning group that ran the George W. Bush re-election campaign. He also served as the White House strategist for the Supreme Court nominations of Justice Samuel Alito and Chief Justice John Roberts.

Schmidt, President Joe Biden (AS65) and David Plouffe (AS10) inspired Bloomberg News to call University of Delaware the academic epicenter of national politics in 2008.

Steve Schmidt attended University of Delaware from 1988 to 1993, where he majored in political science. He left UD one math class short of graduation, but then completed the three-credit course in 2013. He went on to graduate and deliver the convocation address to his fellow graduates.

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Senior Fellows
  • Department of Communication
  • Department of Political Science and International Relations