Swain named MSU vice president for communications and brand strategy

Contact: Kent Cassella, Office of Communications, cell (517) 599-8537, (517) 353-1772, kent.cassella@ur.msu.edu

Apr 13, 2012

EAST LANSING, Mich. — Heather C. Swain has been appointed Michigan State University’s vice president for communications and brand strategy.

The appointment, approved by the MSU Board of Trustees at its April 13 meeting, is effective immediately.

Formerly known as University Relations, the Office of Communications and Brand Strategy comprises the areas of public relations, media communications, marketing communications and creative development, photo and video services—including Big Ten Network productions—and digital communications, including web and social media.

“Heather brings a remarkable set of skills to this position—from marketing and branding to media relations to strategic planning,” said MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon. “In her time as interim vice president she has demonstrated the leadership needed for such a demanding post, and we are pleased she will continue in the position.”

Swain has 17 years of experience in higher education marketing and communications—including branding, marketing and media communications—at MSU, Ball State University and Indiana University Bloomington. During that time, she has led two major rebranding projects; conducted nearly 100 focus groups with higher education target audiences; overseen numerous quantitative research projects; and served for six years as primary university spokesperson with responsibility for issues management.

Swain, who joined MSU as assistant vice president for university relations in October 2006, has served as interim vice president for university relations since August 2010.

Her responsibilities include overseeing the university’s branding initiative, strategic communications planning, media relations, marketing communications, web and new media, and photo and video operations. She succeeds Terry Denbow who retired.

Prior to joining MSU, Swain spent six years at Ball State in the university’s senior communications position where she led a major rebranding effort that tied into the institution’s strategic planning and governmental relations strategies. Swain also spent five years at Indiana University in a variety of communications roles culminating in the position of associate director for university-wide marketing, working with IU campuses across the state on individualized marketing plans and alignment with the overall IU brand.

Swain received her bachelor’s degree in English from the College of William & Mary.