This fall, Belmont political science alumnus Troy Senik (‘05) released his first book, “A Man of Iron: The Turbulent Life and Improbable Presidency of Grover Cleveland.” Senik’s extensive resume chronicles a career that has toggled back and forth between journalism, government, non-profit and the educational world.
Coming to Belmont, he was lured by the rigor and intellectual stimulation of political science after taking the course as his general education requirement. He specifically remembers the bonds created with faculty like political science professor Vaughn May and the department’s previous dean, Dr. Larry Hall, who advised Senik as a student.
“In the political science department, we had such great faculty,” he reminisced. “They both had an incredible gift for leading classroom discussions where you would come out of class feeling like you had run an intellectual marathon. You felt like you were operating at your highest intellectual potential in those classes.”
At the early age of twenty-four, the California native stumbled upon a mountain top opportunity to be a speechwriter through the George W. Bush administration.
“The biggest thing I came away with is that people put a little too much stock in politics and government,” he said. “If you notice, pretty much everything I’ve done since then has been some variation on education.”
Since the White House, Senik has led the Los Angeles World Affairs Council in a vice-presidential capacity, served as Vice President for the Manhattan Institute and today lives in New York City working as the co-founder of Kite & Key Media, a nonprofit that creates engaging, educational content about public policy. In September, “A Man of Iron” was released, earning Senik the new title of author.
Among its many historical and insightful lessons, Senik believes that the biography serves as a constructive rebuke to pervasive modern political cynicism. It fosters hope by reminding readers that the American system has the potential to yield up integrous individuals who are uniquely responsive to the issues of the day.
“One of the reasons I wanted to write the book is I thought that he was a fascinating figure and an odd figure for Americans to have forgotten,” Senik said. “The defining characteristic of his presidency and indeed his life was character. He is thought of as a guy who will take on corruption in his own democratic party and in the republican party. This reputation for integrity is a constant throughout his life.”
“A Man of Iron” is available in hardback, e-book and audio book with an author-narrated introduction.