Amherst College Names Peter Rooney New Director of Public Affairs
July 1, 2008
Caroline J. Hanna
Director of Media Relations
AMHERST, Mass. – Amherst College is pleased to announce that Peter Rooney has accepted the position of director of Public Affairs. Rooney, who currently serves as vice president of Gehrung Associates, a media consultancy in Keene, N.H., will assume his new role at Amherst on Sept. 1.
“In addition to bringing to the position a wealth of experience and a deep understanding of higher ed in general, Peter has shown great enthusiasm and passion for Amherst’s mission and programs,” said President Anthony W. Marx. “I am certain he will be a wonderful leader for the college’s Public Affairs team.”
In his new role, Rooney will serve as a key spokesperson for Amherst and help shape the college’s messages and strategy for reaching out to its many constituencies. With the assistance of the Public Affairs group, he will collaborate with the staffs of other departments at Amherst to ensure an integrated, well-coordinated effort as well as the communication of consistent messages. He will develop and implement a strategy to market the college’s programs and values proactively and respond to issues arising on campus and across the higher education sector. Finally, as Amherst prepares to launch a significant fundraising campaign, Rooney will ensure that the college communicates effectively—and inspirationally—with its 20,000 alumni, whose preferences range from podcasts to the printed page.
“I’m very excited to have this tremendous opportunity to join an institution with as many compelling stories to tell as Amherst does,” Rooney said. “I look forward to meeting and working with many members of the Amherst community as soon as possible, not only to learn more about Amherst, but also to develop creative and effective ways to communicate Amherst’s stories, values and mission to the college’s varied constituencies.”
At Gehrung since 1997, Rooney leads a team of consultants and himself provides strategic and tactical communications counsel to clients that include liberal arts colleges, research universities, medical centers, business schools, nonprofits, foundations and educational organizations. A frequent presenter at national conferences, he places print, broadcast and online stories featuring client institutions, their programs and their faculty in leading media outlets and offers them crisis communications and media training. He meets and speaks regularly with top journalists around the world, across beats and media types.
Prior to joining Gehrung, Rooney worked as a reporter for various media outlets, including the Associated Press in Berlin, Vienna Life magazine and the Champaign-Urbana (Ill.) News-Gazette, where his reporting contributed to the exoneration and release of a death row inmate. He also taught reporting as a visiting lecturer at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he earned both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in journalism. He was a recipient of the International Center for Journalists’ Arthur Burns Fellowship and is a member of the Kappa Tau Alpha National Honor Society in journalism and mass communication.
Founded in 1821, Amherst is a highly selective, coeducational liberal arts college with approximately 1,600 students from most of the 50 states and more than 30 other countries. Considered one of the nation’s best educational institutions, Amherst awards the B. A. degree in 34 fields of study.