From USC To the White House

Finally. A Coloradan in the White House.

Here is Dana M. Perino, Class of ’94, who was honored in 2003 as an outstanding alumna by her alma mater, the University of Southern Colorado at Pueblo. Today, Perino, who graduated with a degree in mass communications, was named the new White House spokeswoman. She replaces Tony Snow, who resigned to make more money.

Keep reading for Perino’s 2003 USC bio.

Dana Perino attended the University of Southern Colorado from 1990 – 94 and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in mass communications and a minor in both political science and Spanish.

While attending the University, Dana was very active on the forensics team and with KTSC. From there, Dana attended graduate school at the University of Illinois – Springfield where she also worked as a daily reporter covering the Illinois Capitol for WCIA-TV, a CBS affiliate. She then went on to work in Washington, D.C. for Rep. Scott McInnis of Colorado as a staff assistant before serving nearly 4 years as the press secretary for retired Colorado Congressman Dan Schaefer.

After Rep. Schaefer announced his retirement, Dana moved to England to marry Peter McMahon. After a year in England, Dana and Peter moved back to the United States and resided in San Diego, California for three years. During that time, Dana worked in the field of high-tech public affairs.

Two months after the September 11th terrorist attacks, Dana returned to Washington, D.C. to serve as a spokesperson for the Department of Justice. Several months later, she was asked to join the White House where she now serves as the Director of Communications for the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ). By statute, the CEQ oversees the implementation of the National Environmental Policy Act, where all federal agencies must complete environmental assessments on their activities before they take action.

As the director of communications, Ms. Perino communicates many times a day with the President’s director of communications, his press secretary and his director of media affairs, handling all environment-related media calls for the White House, as well as serving as the spokesperson for the White House on environmental issues. In addition, she serves as the coordinator for all agencies on environment, energy and natural resource issues, as well as reviewing and approving the agencies’ major announcements, while keeping the other White House offices apprised of CEQ actions.

Dana appreciates the practical experience as well as the solid education she gained from CSU-Pueblo, and she holds many fond memories of her professors and her time spent at the University. Dana and Peter live on Capitol Hill with their dog, Henry.

Cara DeGette is a senior fellow at Colorado Confidential and a columnist and contributing editor at the Colorado Springs Independent. E-mail her at

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