Saturday, May 25, 2024

PSUC alum assists the Trump campaign

Plattsburgh State alumnus Dan Scavino, Jr. graduated in 1998 and now runs social media for businessman Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.

Scavino came from humble beginnings at Yorktown High School as a student spending his high school weekends caddying at the Briar Hall Country Club, which would one day become the Trump National Golf Club Westchester, according to an article titled, “11 Inspiring Tales of Unexpected Success,” in Westchester magazine.

PSUC Communication Studies Chair Shakuntala Rao was Scavino’s academic adviser while he attended PSUC, according to a Press-Republican article.

Rao said she remembers Scavino as a very driven student. She also said he had “incredible work ethic, even as an undergraduate,” and the Trump Organization was a natural fit for the ambitious, young Scavino.

She said his work ethic was “solid” and that he was “organized, thoughtful and intelligent,” and he was on a “professional path,” making his way up the hierarchy of the Trump Organization.
Rao said the Trump Organization is one Scavino clearly appreciates. He could not be contacted in time for publication.

“I am not surprised by his success and all he has achieved,” she said.

Scavino met both the president of Coca-Cola and Trump on the golf course, where he worked summers throughout his college career more than 15 years ago. He worked as Coca-Cola’s district sales manager after he graduated from PSUC, and occupied that position for five years.

In 2003, Trump purchased the golf club, and the club’s senior management asked Scavino to return to the club as its assistant clubhouse manager.

“I sold golf outings to major corporations and charity groups and was responsible for bringing new business to the club,” Scavino said in the Westchester Magazine article.

Three years after his return to the club in 2006, he was promoted to general manager. Two years after that, he was promoted to executive vice president of the club, still holding onto the duties of general manager, according to the same article.

PSUC Assistant Professor of Journalism and Public Relations Rachael Jurek said the use of consistent hashtags, such as #MakeAmericaGreatAgain, #TrumpTrain and #Trump2016, are a sign of a good social media practitioner. Jurek said she wished she knew about the #Trump2016 during his rally in Burlington, Vermont, Jan. 7, 2016 when she tried to follow it on Twitter.

“His social media is as unconventional as Donald Trump’s campaign,” Jurek said.

She said that Scavino’s pages are “well-constructed” and “savvy.” However, the fact that they don’t adhere to typical social media practices follows the ideology of someone who doesn’t follow traditional methods of politics.

Scavino said there is “no such thing as ‘that’s not my job’ in the Trump Organization,” and his loyalty and work ethic got him to where he is today, according to the Westchester magazine article.

PSUC expeditionary studies major Eric Von Schondorf said it’s “ironic” that Scavino found his way into the Trump campaign because he feels it’s a progressive campus. He also said basic networking skills are important for everyone to work their way up.

“Connections are a major part of it, especially in expeditionary studies,” Von Schondorf said. “”You can work small-time jobs, but if you don’t shake hands, you’re not going to be able to transfer your skills around the country.”

Jurek said Scavino, the teenage caddy, had an intelligence for making impressions with the right people early in his life.

This helped propel him to be one of the select few in Trump’s “inner circle,” he said in the Westchester article.

“He met Trump as a teenager, and he was smart enough to make an impression that Trump remembered,” Jurek said.

Email Tim Lyman at

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