by Vivien Savath '06 and Andy Wright '06
If you want to find out about something, ask Google. If you want to find out about Google, ask Jon Murchinson. Jon Murchinson ’91 is a Senior Manager in the Corporate Communications Department of the leading internet search engine, based out of Mountain View, CA. His responsibilities include handling media relations for founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin as well as CEO Eric Schmidt, and answering major media inquiries into the company’s finance, business, legal, and policy issues.
Murchinson’s earliest brush with communications and public relations, what would become his future career, occurred on a leave term during his junior year at Dartmouth College. With funding from the Rockefeller Center, Murchinson secured an internship in Washington, D.C., in Senator Edward Kennedy’s Press Office. “Paul Donovan ’77 was Senator Kennedy’s Press Secretary at the time,” says Murchinson. “He was kind enough to offer me the opportunity to intern for him during my leave term.”
Of his years at Dartmouth, Murchinson fondly remembers his time as a brother at Phi Delta Alpha fraternity. “I made some of my best friends in the house; I think Greek life was very important to my time in Hanover.” He also cites his term abroad in Granada on a Spanish LSA and his participation on the lacrosse team as both fun and formative experiences. Fifteen years later, he remembers the great many options that Dartmouth offered, and the passion with which students participated in them.
Upon graduation as a history major, Murchinson moved to New York doing fundraising for Dartmouth’s $425 million capital campaign. After two years, however, he relocated to Washington, D.C., to join the Clinton Administration where he was a spokesman for the Treasury Department. After a few years, he was promoted to the White House to serve as one of President Clinton’s press secretaries. “As a history major, [working in the Clinton Administration] was a really exciting thing for me to do, to be in a place where history was being made on a daily basis.” The experience gave him enormous respect for public service, which he believes “is about preserving and hopefully improving what we have in our society to the benefit of all citizens.”
Murchinson has worked in the IT industry for five years now, including the last as a spokesman for Google. He moved back to the Bay Area in 2005 due to his wife’s growing consulting business. Google, then only in its sixth year, attracted Murchinson with its intellectual curiosity and its academic feel. “It’s a very flat place, it’s the kind of place where if you have an idea you want to pursue you definitely can, there’s not a hierarchy that thwarts the pursuit of innovation on the behalf of users.” One of Google’s biggest assets is that it is exceedingly user oriented. The engineers creating the technology are also users themselves, so the products are always adapting to what is best for the consumer.
“Someone once told me, the best things to do the first five years out of school are not necessarily to find the job that you love, but figuring out the things you don’t like to do. After you’ve narrowed your focus you can concentrate on finding a career that brings you a sense of enjoyment and fulfillment that represents more than just a paycheck you’re collecting.”
For Murchinson, the innovations are one of the most exciting aspects of working at Google, where he hopes to continue working for years to come. Murchinson also extols the benefits of the Bay Area (“I couldn’t think of a better place to live”). In addition to the vibrant culture and outdoors activities, the Bay Area has a strong Dartmouth presence. “I definitely still feel very connected to Dartmouth even though I’m across the country. I think it’s the type of community that one is always a part of; you never leave. And it’s certainly of great benefit throughout your life.”
Last Updated: 6/21/12