Marie Williams, a proven communications leader and strategist with more than two decades of experience, will become the new vice chancellor for communications at the University of Colorado Denver, Chancellor Michelle A. Marks announced today.
Williams has served in senior leadership roles at public relations agencies and within higher education, most recently as vice president of marketing and communications at Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia. At CU Denver, Williams will lead the 18-person University Communications team responsible for external and internal communications, media relations, marketing, brand strategy, social media, and web development. She will start at CU Denver on Jan. 25.
“Marie rose to the top amid a very strong pool of candidates,” Marks said. “Her experience evolving the Saint Joseph’s brand to align with the university’s new strategic plan positions her well to lead communications efforts at CU Denver as we embark on our own strategic planning process. We’re ready to elevate our university’s reputation not just here in Colorado, but on a national scale and beyond. Marie and her team will be key contributors toward that goal.”
Williams began her public relations career in editor roles at the University of Pennsylvania (her alma mater) and Temple University. For the next six years, she worked in the private sector, in communication and marketing positions for Pennsylvania companies, including PECO Energy and The Pep Boys. From 2007-18, Williams held leadership roles for the education practices at two New York-based public relations agencies, serving as senior managing director at RF|Binder Partners and senior vice president at Edelman. Most recently, at Saint Joseph’s, she transformed the Office of Marketing and Communications into an in-house creative and strategic consultancy that has enhanced the visibility and reputation of the university.
“I am thrilled to join CU Denver,” Williams said. “I was drawn to the university’s commitment to innovation and entrepreneurship, equity and racial justice, first-generation college students, and the city of Denver. I look forward to contributing to the institution’s upcoming strategic planning process and helping to define and promote its proud identity as a top urban research university.”
Marks extended her thanks to the vice chancellor search committee, chaired by College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Dean Pamela Jansma and Assistant Vice Chancellor for Enrollment Management Gabriel Castaño. Karen Klimczak, who had served as interim vice chancellor for communications since the past summer, will return to her role as assistant vice chancellor for marketing and brand strategy.