Jason Stanford

A liberal arts education is all about being curious and making interdisciplinary connections. I could not have written my book, Forget the Alamo, without my Lewis & Clark education.

Jason Stanford BA ?92

Pronouns

he/him

Degree and Class Year

BA ’92

Current City

Austin, Texas

Major

Self-designed Russian Studies

Extracurriculars

Rowing, published in Polyglot and Log, tutored German, Russian Club

Overseas study

Moscow, Russia

What three words would you use to describe L&C?

Green, Activisty, Gateway

What would you say is the most important thing you learned at Lewis & Clark?

How to be curious.

What have you been doing since graduation?

Political campaign consulting, communications director for Austin, Texas, mayor, campaign strategist for Planned Parenthood, chief communications officer for Austin School District, writer.

How did Lewis & Clark prepare you for your career?

A liberal arts education is all about being curious and making interdisciplinary connections. I could not have written Forget the Alamo without my Lewis & Clark education.

How do you stay connected to Lewis & Clark as an alum?

Social media connections with people I served on the Board of Alumni with, plus fundraising solicitations—keep ‘em coming. I’m glad to pay it forward.

Have you been to Alumni Weekend? What’s your favorite part of the event?

My proudest achievement as a member of the Board of Alumni was suggesting a tailgate for alumni at the Homecoming football game. There’s nothing as grounding as drinking beer in a parking lot as an adult with the same people you snuck beers with decades ago in the same location.

Tell us about your new book, Forget the Alamo: The Rise and Fall of an American Myth. How did your career in politics prepare you for writing this book? 

Working behind the scenes in campaigns and government helped me understand the politics of the Alamo in a way that would never occur to a journalist. It was fun being able to explain how things went down in a way political operators wouldn’t immediately discount as trash.

What made you want to come to Lewis & Clark?

Opportunities for overseas study.

How do you describe the liberal arts?

Interconnected.

Why did you major in Russian?

I loved learning Russian at a time when we thought our former enemy was rapidly becoming a Western-style democracy. I haven’t been keeping up with things. What’s happening there lately?

What was your favorite class? How did it expand your knowledge?

I took East-West Studies where we were supposed to be studying the then-ongoing Cold War. One day Professor Richard Spielman brought in the front page of the Oregonian and showed the Berlin Wall falling. “Congratulations,” he said. “This is now a history class.” That moment taught me how quickly the world can change after a long stasis.

Where did you find community on campus?

Rowing team.