Dan Schnur is the Director of the Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics at the University of Southern California, where he works to motivate students to become active in the world of politics and encourage public officials to participate in the daily life of USC.
For years, Dan was one of California’s leading political and media strategists, whose record includes work on four presidential and three gubernatorial campaigns. Schnur served as the national Director of Communications for the 2000 presidential campaign of U.S. Senator John McCain and spent five years as chief media spokesman for California Governor Pete Wilson.
Schnur began his political career in the press office of the Reagan-Bush ’84 presidential campaign. He later served as a spokesman for the Bush-Quayle ’88 presidential campaign, and worked in the press offices of the Republican National Committee before moving to California in 1990 to take on the position of Communications Director of the state Republican Party. Following Wilson’s election as Governor that year, Schnur joined the Administration and subsequently served Wilson as both Press Secretary and Communications Director. In 1994, he served as Press Secretary to Wilson’s successful gubernatorial re-election campaign.
In addition to his position at USC, Schnur is an Adjunct Instructor at the University of California at Berkeley’s Institute of Governmental Studies. Schnur has also held the post of Visiting Fellow at the John F. Kennedy School of Government’s Institute of Politics at Harvard University and taught an advanced course in political campaign communications at George Washington University’s Graduate School of Political Management. In addition, he was the founder of the Center for Campaign Leadership, a non-partisan effort to equip young people with the skills essential for professional involvement in political campaigns.
He has served as an advisor to the William & Melinda Gates Foundation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Broad Education Foundation, the James Irvine Foundation, and the Stuart Foundation on a variety of K-12 education, college and workforce preparedness, governance and political reform efforts. He is also the Co-Chairman of the Voices of Reform project, a bi-partisan statewide organization devoted to making state government more responsive to the needs of California voters.
Schnur’s commentaries have appeared in several California newspapers, including the Los Angeles Times, the San Francisco Chronicle and the Sacramento Bee. During last year’s presidential election, Schnur wrote a regular column for the New York Times‘ political opinion website, Campaign Stops. In addition, he has been an analyst and political commentator for CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, and National Public Radio.
Schnur is a graduate of the American University in Washington, D.C.