University News

Cass Cliatt named new vice president for communications

Franklin and Marshall communications chief will replace Marisa Quinn in April

University News Editor
Friday, December 19, 2014

Cass Cliatt, vice president for communications at Franklin and Marshall College, will come to Brown as vice president for communications April 1, President Christina Paxson P’19 announced in a community-wide email Friday.

Cliatt will succeed Marisa Quinn, vice president for public affairs and University relations, who will become director of communications and outreach at the Watson Institute for International Studies, effective Jan. 1. Directors in Public Affairs and University Relations will manage the office during the three-month interval between Quinn’s move and Cliatt’s arrival, Quinn wrote in an email to The Herald.

The position’s title will change from vice president for public affairs and University relations to vice president for communications due to restructuring of some administrative offices.

Like Quinn, Cliatt will preside over 18 staff members, including those in the Office of News and Communication, the Office of Web Communications and Brown Alumni Magazine. But beginning Jan. 1, Executive Vice President for Policy and Planning Russell Carey ’91 MA’06 will oversee the Office of Government Relations and Community Affairs, which currently reports to Quinn.

“This organizational change will align our government and community relations with the University’s strategic growth and economic development planning, which Russell oversees,” Paxson wrote.

In her new role, Cliatt will develop and execute “a strategic communications plan that supports and advances the University’s goals and priorities,” Paxson wrote. She will also act as the University’s primary spokesperson for media inquiries and counsel administrators and faculty members on communications, Paxson added.

Additionally, she will serve on the Cabinet and Executive Committee.

Cliatt said she was attracted to the University in part due to Paxson’s strategic plan, “Building on Distinction,” adding that the document “outlines a vision for educational excellence, for academic excellence, for making a difference in the world.”

“It’s always important to arrive at a new institution and really understand what the strengths of the existing communications are,” she said. “I look forward to arriving on the Brown campus … and then building a strategic vision from there.”

At Franklin and Marshall, Cliatt spearheaded policies “to protect the institution’s identity,” oversaw improvements to its website and managed its social media presence, Paxson wrote.

Cliatt said she expects her role at Brown to differ from that at Franklin and Marshall due to the unique characters of the institutions. “When you’re at a place like Franklin and Marshall, it’s a much more intimate environment — it’s a college, not a university,” she said.

Cliatt will add to the diversity of a senior administration that includes just three people of color. The majority of senior administrators are white, including the president, provost, dean of the College and dean of the faculty.

After graduating from Princeton with an English degree, Cliatt obtained a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. She originally pursued a career as a reporter, working for the newspapers the Daily Herald, the Battle Creek Enquirer and the Lincoln Journal Star.

She joined the Cook County Clerk’s office in Chicago in 2003 as deputy director of communications and policy. From 2005 to 2011, she served as an administrator at her alma mater, Princeton, first as director of media relations and then as director of news and editorial services.

  • Betty Chic

    Cass, Go talk to the Provost, who is new too, and you will find out what a huge mistake you just made.

    • I’ve been waiting for you

      You’re late.

      • Tabott Calvin

        Yippie Kaye MoFo