University Communications focuses on building the brand, enhancing the reputation and growing public understanding of the University of Chicago, where rigorous inquiry shapes fields, creates a transformative education and experience, and confronts the most important problems of our time. The communications team in collaboration with UChicago Creative, the University’s in-house creative agency, specializes in content creation, media relations, public affairs, brand strategy, and video and audio production for the University, while serving as a communication partner and center of excellence across UChicago.
Paul M. Rand, Vice President of Communications
Paul M. Rand joined the University of Chicago as Vice President for Communications in August 2017. Rand leads the development of strategic and digital communications in support of academic programs, University initiatives and institutional priorities. He collaborates with units across the University to support the momentum of the University’s research and teaching initiatives around the world, support and strengthen engagement with the University of Chicago community, and build upon the institution’s reputation as an intellectual destination. Rand has direct oversight of the Office of Communications.
Before joining the University, Rand was Chairman at Critical Mass/ Zocalo (a division of Omnicom Group). He founded and led two successful agencies: Corporate Technology Communications, one of the nation’s largest independent public relations firms, and Zócalo Group, a full-service digital and social media agency. Based in Chicago, Zócalo Group has received numerous industry awards for its work in digital communications, public relations, social media, and reputation building. Rand’s previous roles include serving as chief digital officer and chief growth and innovation officer at Ketchum, a global public relations firm, and as an executive vice president at Golin. He started his career at Burson-Marsteller in Chicago.
Rand holds a bachelor’s degree in communications from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and a master’s degree in business administration and public policy from DePaul University. He is the author of Highly Recommended: Harnessing the Power of Social Media and Word of Mouth Marketing to Build Your Brand and Your Business (McGraw Hill, 2013/14).
Jeremy Manier, Assistant Vice President of Communications
Jeremy oversees a staff that covers news in the humanities, law, social sciences, physical sciences, campus life, and many academic specialties around the University of Chicago. He is responsible for the University’s online news presence, including websites and social media accounts, and the University community’s daily interactions with the news media. Before coming to UChicago in 2008, he worked for 12 years as a science and medical reporter at the Chicago Tribune.
Ben Rissman, Assistant Vice President, Digital Communications
Ben Rissman joined the University of Chicago as Assistant Vice President for Digital Communications in October 2017. In this role, Ben oversees the development, adoption, and implementation of strategies to ensure that the University, its schools, divisions and units effectively leveraging the power of digital and social media as communications platforms.
Prior to joining the University, Ben launched tech start-ups and then worked at leading global marketing agencies where he provided strategic counsel to a wide range of clients spanning the education, consumer goods, financial services, health care, and retail sectors. As an Executive Vice President at Ogilvy, Ben led a group focused on developing social media strategy and content production. During his time as Senior Vice President, Digital Communications at Weber Shandwick he managed a large team of cross functional digital specialists and often built digital marketing strategy for many of America’s leading brands. In both of these roles he was tasked with keeping his agencies at the forefront of modern marketing by developing new models, capabilities, and thought leadership in many emerging areas like social media, influencer marketing, mobile, and content marketing.
Ben earned a master’s degree in marketing and strategy at the University of Chicago’s Graduate School of Business (Booth) and a bachelor’s degree in economics and political science at the University of Michigan.
Candace Mueller, Executive Director of Communications Strategy and Chief of Staff
Candace D. Mueller joined the University of Chicago as Executive Director of Communications Strategy and Chief of Staff in August 2017. In this role, Mueller ensures the Office of Communications is strategically and organizationally equipped to produce outstanding communications in support of the University’s mission, vision and distinctive strengths. As Chief of Staff, Mueller convenes key stakeholders and campus communicators to establish best practices, content strategies and effective vehicles for the engagement of key audiences.
Most recently Mueller served as Vice President of Global Communications for Hyatt Hotels Corp. overseeing corporate and brand communications, including social media. Before joining Hyatt, Mueller spent nearly 10 years at PepsiCo in various roles, including Senior Director of North America Nutrition and Community Relations. She was selected for this first-ever role dedicated to driving the communications strategy and building reputation for PepsiCo’s portfolio of nutrition brands which included Gatorade, Naked Emerging Brands, Quaker Oats and Tropicana. In addition, Mueller served as Senior Director and Chief of Staff for Quaker Oats leading all internal and external public relations initiatives.
Mueller’s previous experience also includes senior roles at Weber Shandwick and Cramer- Krasselt. Mueller holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of South Florida. In her spare time, she enjoys giving back to the community and serves on two nonprofit Boards.
Marielle Sainvilus, Director of Public Affairs
Marielle manages emerging institutional news and issues, high-profile crisis situations, broad issues affecting higher education, media and public relations, and sensitive topics. She works with members of the news media and serves as a University spokesperson. Marielle also works closely with senior leadership and in close collaboration with departments and units across campus to develop and execute communications strategies for both internal and external University audiences. Prior to joining UChicago, Marielle served as the press secretary for the Chicago Public Schools, communications director at the Illinois Department of Human Services, and assistant press secretary in the Office of the Governor of Illinois. She also led public engagement strategies and provided strategic communications counsel to local and national clients as a communications consultant at Grisko, LLC.
Marielle earned a master’s degree from Northwestern University and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.
Andrea Lewis, Director of College Communications and Associate Dean of the College
Andrea A. Lewis is Director of College Communications and Associate Dean of the College at The University of Chicago, responsible for leading communications and reputation management for the College. Joining the University in September 2017, she collaborates with units across the institution in support of academic programs, University initiatives and strategic priorities.
An expert in all facets of communication, Lewis has guided Fortune 500 companies and top nonprofits through their largest public crises, acquisitions, rebranding and culture change initiatives. Prior to the University, she was head of communications for the national office of the Y, the 5th largest nonprofit in the U.S., where she led crisis and internal communications, employee engagement and client service. She also was first vice president and director of external relations in North America for LaSalle Bank Corporation and Dutch parent ABN AMRO Bank, overseeing all public communication in support of the banks’ global and domestic brand reputation, 18 business unit offerings and philanthropic investments. Before her in-house roles, Lewis spent a decade in the agency world, serving as a vice president in the brand marketing practices of Ketchum, a global public relations firm, and Cramer-Krasselt, an integrated marketing communications agency. She began her career at Golin, a global public relations firm.
Lewis holds her bachelor’s degree in rhetoric and communication from Kent State University. She is the author of Love Yourself(ie), Life Lessons for Building Kid Charisma, a fictional short story endorsed by adolescent development experts for building resilience in preteens growing up in the digital age.
Mark Peters, Director of News and Content
Mark Peters is director of news and content, working with colleagues across campus to tell the story of UChicago. He oversees the creation of an array of content from news announcements and feature stories to podcasts and videos, while developing and executing key projects and initiatives for University Communication.
Mark joined the University in 2016 from The Wall Street Journal where he was a national reporter based in Chicago. A graduate of Boston College, Mark also worked as a staff writer for The Hartford Courant and Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram.
Karen Grotto, Executive Director of UChicago Creative
Karen Grotto joined the University of Chicago as the Executive Director of UChicago Creative in January 2018. Grotto is responsible for leading the team to deliver strategic, high-quality, carefully targeted and efficiently produced communications.
Grotto believes in the power of big ideas and the strong collaboration needed to bring them to life. She’s an award-winning, hands-on creative leader. From B-to-C to B-to-B, her experience is as diverse as the brands she’s contributed to including WXRT radio, Chicago Title Insurance Company, Cook’s Ham, CNH Global, Elmhurst History Museum, Glade, Scrubbing Bubbles, Pledge, BP and CDW.
Most recently Grotto served as an Executive Creative Director at Ogilvy & Mather. She helped build the RedWorks creative team with a focus on high-volume, high-quality creative delivered with operational efficiencies. She has also held creative roles at Edelman, Cramer-Krasselt and Petrick Design.
Grotto attended the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and earned a BFA in Graphic Design. She’s the oldest of 10 siblings and enjoys athletic endeavors, including a dedicated yoga practice.
Office of Communications
Brian Battle, Assistant Director, Social Media Engagement
As the Assistant Director of Social Media Engagement in the Office of Communications, Brian Battle oversees the strategy of the university social media channels, as well as providing support for teams across other University of Chicago departments, entities, and partners. Prior to joining the communications team, Brian worked in the marketing industry as a social media strategist, and previously as an advertising executive with a background in digital, broadcast, print and direct marketing disciplines.
Kevin Castro, Social Media Specialist
Kevin Castro is a social media specialist, helping to manage UChicago’s main social media channels and support social media initiatives across the University. Kevin graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s School of Business in December 2016. While an undergraduate, he worked in the University’s Communications office assisting in managing the UW-Madison social media channels. Kevin joined UChicago in 2018 after spending a year managing digital communications for a financial services firm in Madison, WI.
Ryan Goodwin, Digital Editor
Louise Lerner, News Officer for Physical Sciences
Louise Lerner is the University’s news officer for sciences, focused on research in physics, chemistry, astronomy, molecular engineering, geology, math, statistics and more at the University and its affiliated laboratories. Previously she worked at Argonne National Laboratory as the editor of the lab’s science magazine. She is a 2009 graduate of the College.
Rob Mitchum, Associate Director of Communications for Data Science and Computing
Rob Mitchum, Associate Director of Communications for Data Science and Computing, February 1, 2018. (Photo by Jean Lachat)[/caption]
Rob manages communications for computational programs and research across campus, including the Department of Computer Science, the Center for Data and Applied Computing, and the Research Computing Center. He has worked at the University of Chicago since 2009, previously with the Computation Institute and University of Chicago Medicine. Rob received a Ph.D. in neurobiology from UChicago in 2007, and has written for several news, science and music publications, including the Chicago Tribune and Pitchfork.
Rita Westenberger, Executive Assistant
Rita Westenberger joined the University of Chicago as the executive assistant in January 2018. In this role, Rita provides executive administrative and special projects support for the Vice President for Communications, the Assistant Vice President for Communications, and the Assistant Vice President for Digital Communications. With over 20 years of experience as an executive assistant and project manager, Rita has worked for C-suite executives in a number of industries including telecommunications, higher education and government defense contractors.
Rita holds a master’s degree in both project management and business administration with concentrations in international finance and human resources.
Teresa Cosey, Office Assistant
Michael Drapa, Associate Director of News and Content
Michael Drapa is associate director of news and content, leading the day-to-day operations of the News Office and managing a team of content producers who tell the University’s unique story across its digital channels. Working with partners across campus, he collaborates on the development of stories and multimedia for the UChicago News site and the University homepage. Mike joined UChicago in 2008 following a career in sports journalism and newspapers. At UChicago, he has developed a number of multimedia packages that examine the University’s rich history—notably a story about a World War II-era UChicago project to build the world’s first nuclear reactor and a CASE award-winning profile of renowned civil rights icon and UChicago alumnus Timuel Black.
Colleen Mastony, Director of Media Relations
Colleen Mastony is the director of media relations at the University of Chicago. She works with reporters and editors, coordinating media coverage and contributing to key UChicago priorities by increasing public understanding of the University’s educational mission and impact. Colleen runs a daily news engine that drives proactive media engagement and collaborates closely with the digital, social and news content teams. Before joining the University, Colleen was a journalist and worked at the Chicago Tribune, the Palm Beach Post and Forbes. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of Pennsylvania.
Nicole Schneider, Communications Associate
Nicole Schneider joined the University of Chicago as communications associate for University Communications in April 2018. In this role, Schneider develops and executes plans for University announcements, internal communications initiatives and special projects.
Prior to joining the University, Schneider served as the national public relations manager at the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA), where she provided communications counsel to senior leadership and led distribution of major news including the passing of the organization’s long-time spokesperson, Jerry Lewis, as well as the announcement of the new leadership.
Schneider spent nearly five years at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management with the Executive Education and Alumni Relations and Development teams. In her role as assistant director and advisor of Kellogg’s Executive Scholar Certificate, Schneider managed the program including a complete revamp of the requirements, communications and on-site programming for participants. As part of the Alumni Relations and Development team, she managed a large-scale capital campaign by researching and identifying strategic targets, coordinating alumni research, developing external communications and tracking performance metrics.
Schneider’s previous experience includes roles at Edelman and The Radiological Society of North America (RSNA). She holds a bachelor’s degree in communication from DePaul University. In her free time, she serves on a nonprofit board, is a member of a restaurant club and spends time with her family.
Eric Fey, Senior Technology Producer
Since joining University Communications in 2010 Eric has managed all aspects of the University Communications infrastructure and technical operations. Eric manages the Communication department’s TV studio, radio studio, webcasting services, video server, media asset management system, and technical infrastructure. Prior to joining the University, Eric worked with many of Chicago’s top advertising agencies and postproduction studios.
Nicole Gibby Munguia, Digital Asset Specialist
Nicole Gibby Munguia grew up in southwest Michigan on the shore of Lake Michigan. Seeking adventure and the chance to relocate to an exotic locale, she moved directly across the lake to Chicago. Nicole serves as your first point of contact when you submit a photo or videography project, works with you to determine how our team can best meet your creative project requirements, and ushers projects through every phase of development. Prior to joining UChicago Creative, Nicole worked at the University of Michigan and in the nonprofit sector. In her role as production coordinator, she finally has a justification for creating copious lists, double-checking event details, and adding yet another item to her never-ending list of “topics she’d like to research just for fun.” She holds an MLIS from Dominican University with specializations in Data and Knowledge Management and Digital Curation, and a BA from the University of Michigan. Outside the office you’ll find her with her nose buried in a book (or several) and randomly throwing pop culture references into conversation.
John Hillman, Producer
John joined UChicago Creative in 2017 as a producer. For more than 30 years, John has shared his passion for visual storytelling with such organizations as Loyola University Chicago, The Field Museum, and as a member of the Chicago 2016 Olympic Bid Committee. While running a small video production company called The Video Department, John has worked on numerous grant-funded video projects and has worked internationally in India, Nepal, Italy, Costa Rica, Mexico, Africa, and China. His programs have received accolades including two Silver Apple Awards from the National Educational Film and Video Festival, a Blue Ribbon from the American Film and Video Festival, a Gold Philo from the International Television Association, and thirteen Telly awards, which honor the best in non-broadcast film and video productions. John’s other interests include acting and singing, having appeared in numerous community theater musical productions and also serving as a music minister at St. Linus Parish in Oak Lawn, Illinois.
Zach Love, Senior Producer
Zach joined the University of Chicago in 2009 as a videographer and became a producer in 2010. He began living behind a camera in eighth grade, when he discovered that doing a video for homework was a lot more fun than writing a paper, even if it was five times the amount of work. Zach brings his experience to UChicago Creative as a broadcast photojournalist, editor, live truck operator, and field producer. When Zach steps away from the camera, he enjoys hand developing black and white photos.
Keith Purvis, Producer
Keith Purvis has worked as a film producer and videographer for documentaries, commercials and branded content for over ten years. Starting as an art director and working with high profile clients including Whirlpool, Nike and the AIGA, Keith began looking for ways to merge his love of filmmaking with new media. Purvis founded a new media production company that produced projects for the National Urban League, Martin Luther King Fair Housing Exhibit Center, and many more. A Columbia College graduate and alumnus of Kartemquin Film’s Diverse Voice in Docs program, Keith loves to use film to tell great stories.
Shawn Renee-Cadichon, Associate Director, Multimedia
Shawn joined the University in 2012, overjoyed with the opportunity to return to her passion of film/video production. Most recently, she was an account supervisor at Burrell, an agency specializing in multicultural advertising and event marketing, where she consistently developed creative, market-moving ideas and strategies. Shawn was also a creative executive at Platinum Studios, a film and TV production company. She has produced and managed production on a variety of independent film and video projects and worked on several studio features. Shawn holds a project management certification from Caltech and a BS in communications from Florida State University.
Kristin Gecan, Assistant Director of Editorial
Kristin joined UChicago Creative in March 2014, after spending four years at the Poetry Foundation handling everything communications, marketing, and public relations. Fluent in French and a lover of language, particularly the written word, when Kristin is not at work writing, she’s at home writing, or doing one of her other favorite things—reading, traveling, enjoying good food with friends and family, or catching up on television shows with her husband.
Rick Glatz, Director of Creative Operations
Rick Glatz joined UChicago Creative as Director of Creative Operations in October 2017.
In this role, Rick manages the success of projects, client work portfolios, and the overall organization—developing and managing scopes, schedules, and budgets. Rick oversees, develops, and maintains tools and processes that allow our creative teams to do their best work while delivering the highest level of service to our clients.
Prior to joining the University, Rick spent over 25 years working in advertising agencies throughout Chicago. He managed all aspects of department print production and studio services while developing best practice policies to maximize efficiencies and improve workflow for large-scale brand campaigns.
Outside of work, Rick enjoys spending time with his family, playing music, and drawing.
Robyn Hocker, Senior Project Manager
Robyn Hocker joined the University of Chicago as a for the UChicago Creative department in March 2018. In this role, Robyn helps guide process and communications between departments and vendors for all print, digital and editorial creative projects. She helps to ensure that deliverables are provided on time, within budget and meet creative expectations.
Prior to joining the University, Robyn spent the last 9 years working in downtown Chicago for leading advertising agencies as an Integrated Project Manager. She has worked on national brands such as McDonald’s, PlayStation, Citibank and State Farm.
Robyn originates from Indiana from where she graduated Indiana University with a bachelor’s degree in Visual Communications.
Brian Lease, Office Manager
Brian has more decades of experience in corporate communications than he is willing to admit to. His experience in the creative field runs the gamut from building sets and operating spotlights to coordinating conventions at McCormick Place and managing operations of one of the largest Corporate Communications firms in Chicago. He came to UChicago Creative in 2012, providing finance and operations support and entertaining colleagues with his many stories. As department and financial administrator he is your contact for campus maps, University calendars, and vendor relations.
Ellen McGrew, Senior Editor
Ellen has worked in University communications since 1982. Over that time she has had varied responsibilities in editorial, management, and print production areas, and has enjoyed working with many, many people across campus and in the community. Known for her “eagle eye,” she is currently concentrating on editorial contributions to UChicago Creative’s projects. She has an undergraduate degree in English and did graduate work at the University of Chicago in classics. Her main interest outside of the office is music.
Keith Reid-Cleveland, Writer
Keith joined UChicago Creative in September 2017 as a writer. Before becoming a part of the team, he gained experience covering topics in politics, pop culture and higher education for a variety of media outlets, such as The Undefeated, The Black Youth Project, The Daily Dot, and Uproxx. In 2014, he graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a degree in journalism and a focus in magazine writing. When he’s not working, he’s most likely reading – novels, news articles or comic books – or catching his breath after playing with his highly energetic husky, Ryder.
Manager of Website Development and Optimization
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Edward H. Levi Hall
5801 South Ellis Avenue, Suite 120
Chicago, IL 60637
Edward H. Levi Hall
5801 South Ellis Avenue, Suite 120
Chicago, IL 60637