Jay Rupert '95
“The connections that I made through Radford University have impacted my life tremendously. It kick-started my career and gave me lifelong friends. I appreciate my alma mater,” says Jay Rupert ’95.
Rupert has worked in the Press Galleries on Capitol Hill for more than 15 years. “I started off as Assistant Director in the Senate Press Photographers Gallery and stayed there for three years. I then moved to the House Radio/TV Gallery as the Third Assistant for seven years,” says Rupert. Currently, Rupert serves as the Deputy Director at the House Periodical Press Gallery.
"I serve as a representative for those media outlets that cover Capitol Hill. I help gather information for them on the topics that interest them. Today, I act as a liaison between journalists and the congressional members. We support the media and represent their interests for the day to day activities on Capitol Hill. I gather information for them such as; floor/vote information, committee hearings, press conferences and big events like the democratic and republican political convention and gold medal ceremonies,” says Rupert.
As an undergraduate student, Rupert majored in political science. He served as treasurer and iota for the fraternity Phi Kappa Sigma. “Eight of my best friends today are friends that I met at Radford University. We live in the same area and it feels like nothing has changed since our Radford days,” says Rupert. As a student, Rupert was always a news junkie. He enjoyed eating his lunch in Muse Dining Hall and grabbing the USA today to read it cover to cover. “As a child, my mother would always sit with me and read the paper. She would teach me what everything meant, and slowly she formed my love for news media,” says Rupert.
After graduation, Rupert’s first two jobs came from Radford University connections. “My first job was for then senator Joe Biden as a press intern. His press secretary was a Radford alumnus. For my second job out of college, I worked in the White House Office of Public Liaison under President Bill Clinton. That opportunity was made possible by one of my fraternity brothers,” says Rupert. Rupert specifically worked in the outreach to the Jewish-American community. The office would reach out to prominent Jewish Americans to keep them apprised of administration policies. They would also host meetings with members of the community to address concerns and discuss issues that mattered to them.
Working on Capitol Hill turned into a lifelong career for Rupert. “The Hill is never a calm place, something is always happening. I think that is why I like it so much. I am able to be a part of all the action. I have been present for multiple presidents’ State of the Union speeches, Bill Clinton’s impeachment hearing and the congressional hearing on steroids in baseball,” says Rupert.
Rupert encourages students to put themselves out there and take advantage of the RU network. “At a meeting during the 2008 Republican National Convention in Minneapolis, I was in a restaurant with about 15 other people. Five of those individuals all had some tie to Radford. You never know who you are going to meet and how they can help you in the future. When I first started, I threw my resumé to the alumni network, and who would have thought that at the time Senator Joe Biden’s press secretary would be a fellow alumnus,” says Rupert.