SMPA Welcomes Two Terker Distinguished Fellows

Political operative Frank Fahrenkopf Jr. and journalist Amy Walter join the school.

September 30, 2015


Left to right: Frank Fahrenkopf, Jr. and Amy Walter.

Frank Fahrenkopf, Jr., the co-chair of the Commission on Presidential Debates, and Amy Walter, editor of The Cook Report, will join the School of Media and Public Affairs as the 2015-2016 Terker Distinguished Fellows in Media and Public Affairs.

In their roles, they will participate in class discussions, career advising and public events throughout the academic year.

“Frank and Amy will provide unparalleled insight into this year’s political landscape,” said SMPA Director Frank Sesno. “They are entrenched in the political world—one as a veteran operative, the other a veteran journalist and analyst. We couldn’t ask for two better professionals to guide our students through what’s shaping up to be a wacky presidential primary season.”

Established by Bruce and Cindy Terker in 2010, parents of Jennifer Terker, B.A. ’13, the Terker Distinguished Fellows in Media and Public Affairs program brings professionals from media, political communication and public affairs to SMPA each academic year. Past fellows have included former NPR correspondent Barbara Bradley Hagerty, CBS News White House correspondent Major Garrett and former Republican Sen. Bob Bennett, among others.

Mr. Fahrenkopf is currently the co-chair of the Commission on Presidential Debates, which conducts the general election presidential and vice presidential debates in election years. Prior to his current position, he served as the president and CEO of the American Gaming Association. In the 1980s, he served as chair of the Republican National Committee for six years. He also is a member of the GW Graduate School of Political Management Board of Advisors. 

"American politics are constantly changing. I'm excited to work with students and help them understand the importance of how media as we know it and social media figure into the dynamics of elections and public opinion," Mr. Fahrenkopf said.

Ms. Walter is a political analyst with a reputation for her insight and access to campaigns and political operatives. She is a regular panelist on major political network programs including NBC’s Meet the Press, PBS’ Washington Week with Gwen Ifill and Fox News’ Special Report with Bret Baier. Prior to her time at The Cook Political Report, she was the political director of ABC News.

"If you want to be a doctor, you need to spend a lot of time learning about how all the organs and parts of the human body work. If you want to understand politics, you need to spend the same sort of time investigating each and every part of the body politic—the candidates, the policies, the money, the legislating—and understand how it all filters out to the public through the media,” she said. “SMPA and GW provide students that kind of  intensive political ‘teaching hospital’ for politics. I'm excited to be a part of it.”