PDS Welcomes Julie Roginsky ’91

Courtesy of PDS

Courtesy of PDS

Marc Harary, Staff Writer

Julie Roginsky, a distinguished alumna of the class of ‘91, visited the Upper School in early March to deliver an insightful talk during a special assembly. Before an audience of chiefly sophomores and upperclassmen, Roginsky offered both reflections on her unusual personal experiences and commentary on the unexpected turn of events in this year’s election. She then visited several classes throughout the history department to discuss recent political developments with students, and answer further questions about her speech. Her talk was finally followed by a lunch session during which curious students asked poignant questions concerning Roginsky’s accomplished career in politics and perspective on the election.

Roginsky’s talk was the latest installment in the Anne Rothrock Memorial Lecture series, held annually in honor of a former teacher in the History Department whose passionate teaching inspired her students, including Roginsky herself. Lecturers are invited for their outstanding achievement and prominent leadership in the studies of history, politics, public affairs, or government, and by these criteria, Roginsky may have been been one of the most qualified candidates that PDS has hosted.

Her accomplishments are certainly impressive. Currently a pundit on the Fox News Channel, and a co-host of the shows Outnumbered and The Five, Roginsky has established herself as a political consultant, strategist, and commentator. The public relations and political consulting firm that she founded in 2003, Comprehensive Communications Group, has serviced non-profit organizations, Fortune 500 corporations, and government officials, such as senators Cory Booker and Frank Lautenberg. Senator Jon Corzine even once relied on Roginsky for her expertise as his Communications Director on Capitol Hill. Additionally as columnist, she has published articles that have appeared on CNBC.com, the Star-Ledger, Politico, Forbes, and FoxNews.com.

Shortly after graduating from Boston University with an M.A., Roginsky began her career in politics when she was hired by EMILY’s List, a political actions committee (PAC) that provides consulting services for pro-choice Democratic female candidates. Though most often associated with aiding women’s elections to office, the firm assigned Roginsky to the campaign of Dave McCormick in the Democratic primary of Maine’s 1st congressional district and subsequently to that of New Jersey Representative Frank Pallone. In 1999, Roginsky became the first woman to assume the chief managerial role in orchestrating the New Jersey Democratic Coordinated Campaign, and through her efforts the Democratic caucus successfully got three candidates elected to the General Assembly. Roginsky was then hired as communications director for the New Jersey Democratic State Committee following her extraordinary work for the Campaign. Only four years later, she founded her consulting firm despite the skepticism of her family and friends, as she good-humoredly admitted in her lecture. Roginsky has offered her services since 2005 to the Women’s Campaign School at Yale University— a program that promotes the election of female candidates—serving as a member of the Board of Directors.

However, Roginsky is perhaps best known for her career in television broadcasting, which she began in 2004 when she appeared as a Democratic strategist for Fox News. CNBC later hired Roginsky in 2009 as an on-air commentator, and after a struggle that she also comically recounted in her talk, Roginsky was at last formally hired as a co-host on Fox in 2011.

What emerged is that Julie Roginsky’s greatest accomplishments were only possible through her perseverance, as she repeatedly emphasized in both her lecture and Q&A session at lunch. In the face of  overwhelming odds, and her colleagues’ disheartening doubt, her self-belief allowed her to overcome every obstacle – including Honors Chemistry class and preparing a news report the night before deadline while surviving on her “own weight in Dunkin’ Donuts.” At the heart of her success, she assured the audience, lies her formative experiences at PDS and the unappreciable skills and values which it inculcated her with in her high school years.

The core of her speech was this simple message: with the proper grit and diligence, even one’s wildest dreams are pursuable. This year’s Rothrock Lecture certainly reflected the result of an enlivening education, such as provided by the teacher to whom it pays tribute.