Larry Arbeiter, a nationally respected communications professional from the University of Chicago, has been named associate vice president for communications at the University of Rochester, Vice President for Communications Bill Murphy announced today.
Arbeiter will take the new post July 30. Murphy said his primary responsibilities include oversight of media relations and coordinating the work of the University's publicists with that of the periodicals staff, which produces Rochester Review, Currents and the University calendar. And, Murphy said, "Larry will be involved in everything we do."
Murphy worked with Arbeiter at the University of Chicago and said he fits perfectly with Rochester's recently revamped communications team, which is striving to gain the University more national recognition.
"Larry is acknowledged to be a national leader in media relations with an extensive network of contacts. He's had an amazing track record of winning national attention for the work of the faculty and students at Chicago," Murphy said.
Arbeiter said he accepted the offer from Rochester because it's a top-notch university on an upward trajectory.
"It's obviously a world-class institution. The research there is clearly first-rate and on my two visits to the University, I was struck by the spirit of the place. There is a clear desire for excellence, but there's also a sense of common purpose and community," he said.
Arbeiter has spent the last 28 years of his career at the University of Chicago, rising from the position of science writer, which he took in 1979, to director of university communications in 1995. In addition to his communications experience, Arbeiter has a physics background. He has a bachelors of science degree in physics and astronomy from the University of Wisconsin and his first job out of college was in the atomic spectroscopy laboratory at the university.
In addition to managing a staff of 19 at the University of Chicago, serving as university spokesman, and advising administrators on public relations matters, he also took on several projects during his time there. Recently he guided the university's process of streamlining its graphic identity and created an architectural guidebook to the campus.
Arbeiter was also the co-executive producer of the PBS documentary The Power of Choice, a biography of University of Chicago Professor Emeritus Milton Friedman. Friedman, who died in November, was a Nobel laureate and is widely regarded as one of the most important economists of the 20th century.
Arbeiter said it's a privilege working in higher education where discovery plays a vital role. He said he'll work on building the University's national profile so more people know about the amazing things happening on campus.
"I think its very important for the public to understand the importance of the work done at research universities like the University of Rochester. In addition to training the next generation of leaders, these institutions drive economic growth, relieve pain and suffering, help us understand our place in the universe, and help us better understand the interactions of individuals and whole societies," he said.
Professionals in the field of higher education communications, who have worked with Arbeiter throughout his career, said he's one of the best.
"Larry is one of the most accomplished communications professionals in all of higher education. He is a serious, observant, discerning, thoughtful person. He's also one of the nicest guys anywhere. This is a great catch for the University of Rochester," said Dennis O'Shea, executive director of communications and public affairs at Johns Hopkins University.
Joe Wrinn, director of the Harvard University news office, has known Arbeiter professionally for 20 years.
"Larry is a true believer and dedicated advocate of higher education. He explains issues clearly and credibly. He respectfully brings a story or an issue to a personal level, whether he's working with a senior faculty member, an overworked journalist on deadline or a parent struggling to pay tuition. Larry also is one of the most pleasant people on the planet to be around. He finds common ground, humor, and good nature no matter the pressures of the moment," Wrinn said.
Stephen MacCarthy, University of Arizona vice president for external relations, agreed.
"Larry is one of the most thoughtful and insightful communicators in the country. He has always been admired by his colleagues for his logical approach to communications issues. Rochester has picked up one of the very best people in this business," MacCarthy said.
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