Jim Messina '93
Degrees: Political Science/Journalism, 1993
Profession: Founder and CEO of The Messina Group in Washington, D.C.
Lecture: Policy Issues, Ethics, and the 2016 Presidential Campaign
Jim Messina, who earned his UM degree in 1993, was named Political Strategist of the Year by the Political Consultants Association for his role as campaign manager for President Barack Obama’s re-election in 2012. He helped run a successful Missoula mayoral campaign while still an undergraduate at UM, and in 1995, served as U.S. Sen. Max Baucus’ chief of staff and ran the senator’s 2002 re-election campaign. He also served as chief of staff to U.S. Senator Byron Dorgan of North Dakota and Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy of New York. In 2008, Messina was appointed chief of staff in Obama’s campaign for the presidency. In preparation for the president’s campaign for re-election, he met with some of the nation’s top business leaders, learning how to run what has been lauded as the most technologically savvy campaign in history. As deputy chief of staff in the White House, one of his many responsibilities was helping to lead the effort to pass the historic health care reform law and to repeal the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. In 2013, he was the recipient of UM's Distinguished Alumnus Award.