William M. Murphy, a nationally prominent communications professional with more than 25 years of experience at major research universities, has been named the University of Rochester's first Vice President for Communications.
University President Joel Seligman welcomed Bill Murphy this morning at a reception that included academic and administrative leaders, search committee members, local trustees, and communications staff from throughout the University. He will begin the Rochester post on or about March 13.
"With Bill's appointment, the University will jump-start a communications process that more consistently and proactively communicates our strengths and potential," said Seligman. "He has the experience and diplomatic skill to make substantial improvements in communication both within and outside the University."
"It was immediately obvious to the search committee and other senior leaders that Bill had carefully researched the University and was the right choice for this job," said Doug Phillips, senior vice president for institutional resources and chair of the search committee. "He came prepared with insightful, creative ways to address both the challenges and opportunities facing the University."
Murphy served as vice president for university relations and special assistant to the president at Ohio State University, was associate chancellor for public affairs at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and began his career at the University of Chicago where he ultimately served as assistant vice president for University News and Publications. He impressed search committee members and University leaders alike with his experience and practicality. His references included a number of former and current university presidents.
"I had the great pleasure of working with Bill Murphy at the University of Chicago. In addition to being an outstanding communications professional, Bill understands the mission of a great university," said Hugo Sonnenschein, president emeritus of the University of Chicago and University of Rochester Trustee. "He is just the right person to increase awareness of the wonderful work that goes on each day at the University of Rochester."
Given his experience at a number of similar universities, Murphy brings deep expertise in institutional identity, national media relations, internal communications, issues management, and marketing and development communications, areas Seligman and the University Trustees have defined as key priorities. In addition, he has played key roles as a member of the steering committee of the Science Coalition and the public affairs committee of the Association of American Universities.
"I'm just delighted to be joining Rochester's communications team. The University of Rochester is a remarkable university with a distinguished past and bright future," Murphy said.
Murphy earned a doctorate in modern Irish history at the University of Chicago, where he was named a Ford Foundation fellow, and a bachelor of arts degree at the University of Notre Dame. He is a member of Phi Beta Kappa.
"In selecting an experienced, results-oriented communications strategist and by elevating the function to a cabinet-level appointment, I am sending the message that communications is critical to the success of this University," Seligman said. "It's the start of a new era in our relationships with our internal, local, national, and international audiences."
Seligman praised the work of the search committee, which was composed of academic, administrative, and communications leaders from throughout the University, and was assisted by Judith Ward of Academic Search Consultation Service in Washington, D.C. Murphy emerged early in the search as the leading candidate from a pool of nationally respected communications professionals.