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The Role of College Presidents in Public Relations


The president of a college is the public face of that college and guides the public-relations strategy it takes. A new year is a perfect time to invest in a PR strategy for your college or university. The demands on a president are endless. As you seek to focus your time and be effective, Hyatt-Fennell’s own Dr. Marylouise Fennell and Dr. Scott Miller, president of Virginia Wesleyan University, offer these insights:

  1. Be visible on campus. To reach a happy medium of visibility while not overextending yourself, a former mentor and college president coined the term, “tasteful fly-bys,” referring to his habit of attending as many on-campus events as possible, but not staying for the entire activity. By being neither the first to arrive, nor the last to leave, you will be noticed and visible without tempting burnout.

  2. Manage your own identity. In their haste to make their mark off-campus, presidents may attempt to brand their institutions externally before establishing their own “brand” internally. It’s important that you know who you are and how you want to be perceived on campus before becoming visible to external stakeholders. Internal and external identities should be complementary and consistent.

Want some additional help with your public relations approach? Contact us at Hyatt-Fennell to discuss strategies.

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