Announcing Scripps College's 2019 Commencement Speaker: USA Facts President Poppy MacDonald

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Scripps College alumna Poppy MacDonald, managing director of USAFacts and Scripps alumna, will deliver the address at the 89th commencement exercises on Saturday, May 18, 2019.

Poppy MacDonald headshot

Poppy MacDonald of USA Facts will deliver the 2019 commencement address at Scripps College

“Given the current climate of alternative facts and fake news, a nonpartisan, data-driven organization like USAFacts is more relevant than ever."

Poppy MacDonald, president of USA Facts, will deliver the address at 89th commencement exercises on Saturday, May 18, 2019.

USAFacts is a nonprofit, nonpartisan civic initiative that aims to make government numbers more available, accessible, and understandable to Americans. Prior to joining USAFacts in 2018, MacDonald was the president and chief operating officer of Politico USA, a political journalism company; National Journal’s publisher, president, and chief revenue officer; Politico Pro’s executive director of business development, overseeing the launch of Politico’s first paid subscription model; and a partner at Gallup, Inc., where she launched the World Poll and led the healthcare practice. MacDonald began her career serving members of Congress representing her Pacific Northwest hometown on both the Senate and House sides of Capitol Hill, and currently resides in Seattle with her husband and two children.

A first-generation college student, MacDonald majored in history while at Scripps. She studied off campus during her junior year, spending the fall semester in Nepal trekking the Himalayas and the spring and summer interning in Washington, D.C., at The McLaughlin Group, the weekly radio roundtable of analysis and opinion.

MacDonald stands out as one of very few women to occupy a high-profile national media position. How she navigates the current political sphere is one of many topics that attracted the commencement committee to her as a potential speaker.

“Given the current climate of alternative facts and fake news, a nonpartisan, data-driven organization like USAFacts is more relevant than ever,” wrote members of the student commencement speaker committee, which oversaw the commencement speaker selection process that began in fall 2017.

While on campus, MacDonald will also be meeting with students for talks and workshops. “I’m looking forward to hearing directly from students on the selection committee about what they hope to hear,” said MacDonald. “I’m most excited to have time to connect with the faculty and students in a setting that still feels like home.”

Scripps College was founded in 1926 by Ellen Browning Scripps, a pioneering philanthropist and influential figure in the worlds of education, publishing, and women’s rights. Today, Scripps is a nationally top-ranked liberal arts college and women’s college with approximately 980 students, and is a member of The Claremont Colleges in Southern California. The mission of Scripps College is to educate women to develop their intellects and talents through active participation in a community of scholars, so that as graduates they may contribute to society through public and private lives of leadership, service, integrity, and creativity.

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