Young appointed to VP position

by Nathan Yeo | 5/17/11 10:00pm

Roderic Olvera Young was appointed the College's vice president for communications on Tuesday and will assume his role on June 10, according to a College press release. Young, who currently chairs the Reputation Management Practice at the Washington, D.C.-based communications firm TMG Strategies/MSL Group, will manage the Office of Public Affairs and work with College administrators to accurately and clearly convey their goals to students, faculty members and alumni, he said.

Young said he hopes to use his prior professional experience in "effective messaging" to communicate the College's goals and accomplishments. Young previously served as press secretary for NASA and spent six years as press secretary for former Rep. Esteban Torres, D-Calif., according to the press release.

As the vice president for communications, Young will also oversee the College's publications and social media networks, work collaboratively with the communications staff at the College's graduate schools and publicize research produced by students and faculty, Senior Vice President for Advancement Carolyn Pelzel said.

"His main responsibility is really to think proactively about how to communicate to our many publics the mission and aspirations of our faculty and students," she said. "One of the very important functions under [Young] is to think about how to take the work of our faculty and students the research that they do, the scholarship that they do and make the public aware of the depth and scope of that research."

Young who will replace acting Vice President of Communications Sarah Memmi with report directly to Pelzel, she said.

Young said he is "very excited" to meet students and faculty at the College and to begin his work.

"That's what I look forward to the most helping to discover what the individual pieces are and helping to tell that story," he said.

"I hope to underscore that a clear and defined message is key to letting the world know what Dartmouth is, and that it continues to be, one of the most respected institutions of higher education in the world," Young said. "Our job is to help continue to tell that story."

Young possesses various "problem solving" and "analytical" capabilities that will prove beneficial in addressing various communications challenges at the College, Pelzel said. Young is also "highly collaborative" and will willingly accept advice from faculty and students, she said.

"He's not coming with an agenda of how Dartmouth should proceed, he's coming with a passion for learning about the strengths of our faculty and how and where our research and scholarship can make a difference in society," Pelzel said. "That's what excites him."

Young's appointment follows a nation-wide search to fill the position that began in September. Physics and astronomy professor Marcelo Gleiser chaired the search committee, which included Chief of Staff David Spalding, Tuck School of Business Dean Paul Danos, Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid Maria Laskaris, Associate Vice President for Individual Giving Thomas Herbert and Jim Badenhausen '87, a partner at the communications firm Robinson Lerer & Montgomery, the release said.

Gleiser did not respond to requests for comment by press time.

The College also employed Richard Marshall, a search consultant with the executive recruitment firm Korn/Ferry, to select the best candidate, Pelzel said. In the initial stages of the search process, Marshall used his business contacts to solicit suggestions for possible candidates, while the College wrote to 1,500 alumni to inform them of the opening and advertised the position in The Chronicle of Higher Education and other publications, according to Pelzel.

Korn/Ferry reviewed applicants' resumes and identified a subset of candidates to recommend to the College, Pelzel said. The College then narrowed the subset down to four candidates who visited campus and met with the search committee and other College administrators, she said.

The search committee selected Young based on his extensive experience in the public relations field, according to Pelzel.

"Members of the search committee were very impressed with the breath of his communications experience," Pelzel said. "He had worked in government, business and with educational institutions so he was somebody who had tackled a communications challenge in multiple settings."

Young graduated with a bachelor's degree in government and politics from the University of Maryland and currently lives in Virginia with his wife and three children, according to the release.