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Press Release

Nancy Dewalt
Gretchen Underwood

For immediate release:
May 15, 2003

John Podesta, Clinton White House Chief of Staff, To Address Heinz School Commencement on May 18

EVENT: John Podesta, chief of staff in the Clinton White House, will speak on "The War at Home: Democracy, Debate and Dissent" at an afternoon diploma ceremony for Carnegie Mellon University's H. John Heinz III School of Public Policy and Management on May 18.

During his tenure as chief of staff to President Bill Clinton, Podesta was responsible for directing, managing and overseeing all policy development, daily operations, Congressional relations and staff activities in the White House from 1998-2001. Now a visiting professor of law at the Georgetown University Law Center, Podesta has remained in the public eye through numerous television appearances and speeches. He is also an expert on technology policy and has written a book, articles and lectured extensively on the subject. An audience favorite, Podesta is known for his straight talk and acerbic wit as he discusses such timely issues as congressional and White House policy, legislation, budget trends, the media and even television's "The West Wing."

This year 251 students will earn graduate degrees from the Heinz School, which has an international reputation for excellence in educational programs and research in public policy and management, including such areas as information technology, criminal justice policy, policy analysis, environmental policy, health care policy, arts management and finance. Students and faculty look at societal problems from many different perspectives, using technology, quantitative and qualitative analysis and group dynamics to arrive at innovative solutions. Heinz School graduates serve in key managerial positions across a wide range of government, business and nonprofit organizations.

WHEN: Sunday, May 18. Podesta's commencement address will immediately follow a 2 p.m. diploma award ceremony (seating requested by 1:30 p.m.)

WHERE: Temple Rodef Shalom, corner of Fifth and Morewood avenues (one block from Carnegie Mellon's main campus) in Oakland.

NOTE TO REPORTERS: John Podesta will be available to answer media questions at 9:30 a.m. at Carnegie Mellon's Hamburg Hall. Please call 412-268-5294 to arrange an interview and obtain further details.

CONTACT Carnegie Mellon's Nancy Dewalt, 412-268-5294.


John Podesta served as chief of staff to President Clinton. In that capacity, he was responsible for directing, managing, and overseeing all policy development, daily operations, Congressional relations and staff activities of the White House from October 1998 until January 2001. He coordinated the work of cabinet agencies with a particular emphasis on the development of federal budget and tax policy. He served in the president's Cabinet, and as a principal on the National Security Council. A frequent guest of news programs, Podesta is known for his straight talk, acerbic wit and fierce defense of the Clinton administration.

Podesta is a visiting professor of law at the Georgetown University Law Center, a position he also held from 1995-97. He has taught courses on technology policy, congressional investigations, legislation, copyright and public interest law. He is a senior fellow for the National Resources Defense Council.

Podesta first served in the Clinton administration from 1993-95 as assistant to the president and staff secretary. In that capacity, he managed the paper flow to and from the president. He also served as a senior policy advisor to the president on government information, privacy, telecommunications security and regulatory policy. He is considered one of Washington's leading experts in technology policy; he has written a book and several articles and has lectured extensively on the subject.

In January 1997, Podesta returned to the White House as an assistant to the president and deputy chief of staff where he managed policy initiatives, developed overall legislative and communications strategy and coordinated the selection of senior administration appointments, including federal judges.

Podesta has held a number of positions on Capitol Hill including: counselor to Democratic Leader Senator Thomas A. Daschle (1995-96); chief counsel for the Senate Agriculture Committee (1987-88); chief minority counsel for the Senate Judiciary Subcommittees on Patents, Copyright and Trademarks; Security and Terrorism; and Regulatory Reform; and counsel on the Majority Staff of the Senate Judiciary Committee (1979-81).

In 1988, Podesta founded with his brother Tony, Podesta Associates, Inc., a Washington, D.C., government relations and public affairs firm.

A Chicago native, Podesta worked as a trial attorney in the Department of Justice's Honors Program in the Land and Natural Resources Division (1976-77) and as a special assistant to the director of ACTION, the federal volunteer agency, (1978-79). He has served as a member of the Council of the Administrative Conference of the United States and the United States Commission on Protecting and Reducing Government Secrecy.

Podesta is a 1976 graduate of Georgetown University Law Center and a 1971 graduate of Knox College. He is married to Mary S. Podesta, a Washington, D.C., attorney. They have three children. He is an avid runner and a dedicated fan of roller coasters and "The West Wing."


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