Shailagh Murray, previously a senior adviser to President Barack Obama, has been appointed as executive vice president for public affairs starting Sept. 4, University President Lee Bollinger announced today.
In her role, Murray will oversee both the Office of Communications and Public Affairs and the Office of Government and Community Affairs, the latter of which serves as the primary liaison between Columbia and the surrounding communities, and is also integral in overseeing the expansion of the Manhattanville campus. Prior to coming to Columbia, Murray served as communications director and deputy chief of staff for Vice President Joe Biden, and as senior advisor to President Obama during the final two years of his presidency.
Murray’s appointment follows the departure of David Stone, the longest serving communications director in the Ivy League, in August. His tenure marked the end of a tumultuous era for Columbia’s communications office, which had been heavily criticized for its lack of transparency surrounding Manhattanville. The Offices of Communications and Public Affairs and Community Affairs have not been overseen by a joint administrator since 2005, when EVP Loretta Ucelli resigned after 16 months in the position.
In his statement, Bollinger also detailed Murray’s experience in journalism. A graduate of Northwestern University’s School of Journalism, she went on to cover the transition from communism to democracy in Eastern Europe, the rise of the European Union, and four United States presidential elections.
Citing her extensive experience in communications and government, Bollinger referred to Murray as an administrator “well suited to this position and to serving the current and future needs and interests of the University.”