Senior Associate Vice President and Dean for College Advancement Rebecca Fox was recently named to the newly created position of Senior Associate Vice President for Advancement and Executive Director of Alumni and Constituent Relations within the new University Advancement organization.

Fox will be reporting to Senior Vice President and Chief Advancement Officer Jim Thompson, who is excited about the potential impact of the new position as well as Fox’s work defining the role in the upcoming months.

“Rebecca will play a critical role as we move forward in building a truly world class, university coordinated alumni relations program,” Thompson said. “This is an important part of our planning, and I am thrilled to have Rebecca in this important role.”

In 2002 Fox came to UR and was appointed as Senior Associate Vice President for Advancement. In 2003 she took direct responsibility for the Office of College Advancement. As Senior Associate Vice President for Advancement and Executive Director of Alumni and Constituent Relations within the new University Advancement organization, she will ensure that the strengths and development priorities of The College are effectively communicated.

“We have seen wonderful College advancement efforts under Rebecca and I am glad that she will be a member of Jim Thompson’s team,” President Joel Seligman stated in a recent press release. “We will now build the programs that can produce a strong, institution-wide relationship between the university and its alumni.”

Upon Seligman’s arrival to office in July, he made immediate changes and improvements for UR. Along with Frederick Volkmann, a colleague from Washington University in St. Louis, he came up with a list of important needs for UR during Seligman’s term in office and many years that would follow.

The report consisted of 15 categories, including creating a new position of Vice President for Public Affairs, reorganizing UR’s public relations and marketing and establishing a public affairs council.

In a letter to the university, Seligman said, “Collectively these recommendations outline a comprehensive new approach for communications.”

“Without subscribing to specific recommendations at this time, I believe this is an effort that is necessary and important for our university,” Seligman said. “We are one university. Although we are organized into six schools and affiliated programs and value decentralization, we are all part of UR. We have much to be proud of at our university. But to put it simply, we can do a better job communicating our accomplishments and our identity.”

Seligman has demonstrated his determination to fulfill the steps of the Volkmann Report. He has already begun his hard work in hiring new staff members to fulfill his strategic planning of creating an office to bring Public Relations together.

As of now, The College Advancement staff will be reporting to Senior Associate Vice President for Academic Development Rob Gibson, who is launching a search for an executive director to oversee the Office of College Advancement.

Deans of The College are going to continue working closely with Fox, Gibson and other senior leadership team members in College Advancement. It is imperative at this point that the strengths and development priorities of The College are communicated in an effective and efficient manner.

Seligman’s letter to the university concluded with a comment from Volkmann that states, “A common misunderstanding of public relations is that it creates an image for the institution rather than serves as a [concave] mirror that focuses on what already exists.” Seligman then continued, saying, “Our ultimate objective is to better communicate the achievements of our great faculty, outstanding programs and wonderful students at the UR. Today we begin the first steps in what will be a multi-year process of implementation.”

Lewis can be reached at slewis@campustimes.org.



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