University of Arkansas names new PR chief | Arkansas Blog

Thursday, December 19, 2013

University of Arkansas names new PR chief

Posted By on Thu, Dec 19, 2013 at 2:44 PM

click to enlarge LAURA JACOBS
The University of Arkansas has named Laura Jacobs as associate vice chancellor of university relations. She has been director of communications at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art.

This is the job from which John Diamond was fired in August. Since then, Diamond has leveled a series of accusations (supported by other witnesses) about Chancellor David Gearhart's resistance to accountability, particularly in the matter of financial deficits in the money-raising Advancement Division. Jacobs, in other words, is not stepping into a featherbed of a job.

For the record: The university found their candidate at an institution almost wholly funded by Walmart money. The university itself relies on significant Walmart fortune contributions. Gearhart has a brother who is a Walmart exec. She is also a UA graduate. Diamond was an outsider, a former Maine legislator. 

Also for the record: I've never heard anything but good words about Jacobs' work at Crystal Bridges. I've sent a question about her compensation. She starts work Jan. 27.

UPDATE: UA spokesman Steve Voorhies says Jacobs will be paid $170,000. Diamond's salary was $173,354.

Following is the university release:

Laura Jacobs, the current director of communications at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, has been appointed to be the new associate vice chancellor of university relations at the University of Arkansas. She will assume her new duties on Jan. 27, 2014.

“The university had many highly qualified applicants for this position,” said Chris Wyrick, vice chancellor for university advancement. “Laura Jacobs stood out as clearly the best among these candidates, as a truly great choice to lead university relations, and an excellent addition to our Advancement leadership team.”

“I am honored to have been selected for this role at my alma mater,” said Laura Jacobs. “I’m eager to begin working with the stellar group of professionals charged with advancing the University of Arkansas. I’d like to extend my gratitude to Chancellor Gearhart, Vice Chancellor Wyrick, the search committee and especially the university relations staff for their support and vote of confidence.”

Jacobs’ new position will be a homecoming of sorts. She first joined the office of university relations in 1998 and held several roles with increasing duties and responsibilities, including manager of development communications, managing editor of Arkansas magazine, and senior director of strategic communications.

She joined Crystal Bridges in November 2011 just as the museum opened its doors to the public. She guided its public and media relations, creative services and digital media, and advertising during this dynamic period.

As associate vice chancellor for university relations, Jacobs will oversee a department that is responsible for all university communications and media relations, including social media; marketing and branding of the university; promoting and publicizing the university’s fundraising efforts; supervision of website design and development; the university’s design, photography and videography production, and campus wide crisis communications.

Jacobs is a graduate of the University of Arkansas with a bachelor of arts in English and communications and a master of education in higher education administration.

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