Mark Shields delivered the Second Annual Culver Lecture at Simpson College on April 11, 2012. Shields is best known for his work as a political columnist and television commentator on Inside Washington and the PBS NewsHour. His counterparts on the NewsHour have included conservative commentators David Brooks, David Gergen, Paul Gigot, and the late William Safire. For nearly 20 years he was also moderator and panelist on CNN’s Capital Gang. He became an editorial writer for The Washington Post in 1979 and has published a nationally-syndicated column ever since. Shields authored On the Campaign Trail, a book about the 1984 presidential campaign.
After graduating from Notre Dame and serving in the United States Marine Corps, Shields became an aide to Wisconsin Senator William Proxmire in 1965. He worked for Robert F. Kennedy’s 1968 presidential campaign and later for the campaigns of Edmund Muskie and Morris Udall. He served as political director for Sargent Shriver when he ran for vice president on the Democratic ticket in 1972. Shields’ extensive political experience included managing state and local campaigns in three dozen states over the course of a decade.
Shields has taught American politics and media studies at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School and Georgetown University’s Graduate School of Public Policy. He was a fellow at the Harvard Institute of Politics at the Kennedy School of Government.