PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — Cass Cliatt, currently vice president for communications at Franklin & Marshall College and the former director of news and editorial services at Princeton University, has been appointed vice president for communications at Brown University. Cliatt will begin her work in Providence April 1, 2015, succeeding Marisa Quinn.
“The task of implementing a clear, effective, and engaging University communications strategy is more important, and more complex, than ever before,” said Brown President Christina Paxson. “Cass Cliatt’s background in journalism and digital communications and her experience in higher education position her perfectly to guide the continuing development of communications at Brown. I am delighted to welcome her to the University.”
As the University’s chief communications officer, Cliatt will conceive, implement, evaluate, and update a strategic communications plan that supports and advances the institution’s goals and priorities. She will serve as the University’s chief spokesperson for external media and will advise the President, senior officers, faculty, and other University representatives on communication issues and opportunities.
She will lead a communications department that includes the Office of News and Communications, the Office of Web Communications, and the Brown Alumni Magazine. (The Office of Government Relations and Community Affairs will continue to work with communications colleagues in Nicholson House but will report to the executive vice president for policy and planning, beginning Jan. 1, 2015.)
Cliatt will report directly to President Paxson and will serve as a member of the Cabinet and the Executive Committee.
A graduate of Princeton University (A.B., English with Spanish certification, 1996), Cliatt earned a master of science in journalism at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. She served briefly as Washington correspondent for the Lincoln (Neb.) Journal Star, covering former Sen. Chuck Hagel and the Nebraska delegation. She continued as a reporter with the Battle Creek (Mich.) Enquirer and the Daily Herald, Illinois’ third-largest newspaper, in suburban Chicago.
In the fall of 2003, Cliatt was hired by the Cook County Clerk’s Office as deputy director for communications to develop a communications plan for constituent groups, merging traditional print with digital media. Among other innovations, Cliatt led the development of a content management system and creation of two websites for voter and constituent information.
She moved into higher education in 2005 as director of media relations at Princeton, working with cabinet-level university officers and serving as Princeton’s chief spokesperson. Her responsibilities included crisis communications and planning, media management for high-level events and projects (including a $1.75-billion fundraising campaign), public information on legal affairs, technical media preparations for high-profile visits (Condoleezza Rice, Ban Ki-moon, various heads of state), and issues management.
Promoted to director of news and editorial services, Cliatt continued to oversee media relations and to serve as spokesperson role. She was responsible for crisis communications, oversaw the editorial content of all recruitment communications and other key publications of the College, directed the development of a social media strategy and policy, fostered collaboration between editorial and multimedia staff members, and reconfigured staff responsibilities to meet the challenges of new media channels and the evolution of traditional news organizations.
She became vice president for communications at Franklin & Marshall College in January 2012. At Franklin & Marshall, Cliatt serves as chief spokesperson on strategic issues and crisis communications; realigned the strategic focus of news operations and media relations; developed a new strategy for recruitment communications; led the development and launch of the college’s new website; built new pathways to alumni engagement and advancement communications; and introduced policies and procedures surrounding internal communications, trademarks and licensing, and social media strategy, among other initiatives.
“The vision that President Paxson has articulated in Building on Distinction is truly inspiring, and I am thrilled to join the University community at such a momentous time,” Cliatt said. “Communicating about the value of research and innovation in teaching has never been more important. I look forward to engaging with faculty, staff, students, alumni, and friends of the University and to sharing with the world Brown's unique story of academic and scholarly excellence.”