January 13, 2014
AMHERST, Mass. – President Biddy Martin announced today that Pete Mackey, Bucknell University’s vice president for communications and community relations, has been selected to be Amherst College’s chief communications officer, the first in the college’s history.
“I am delighted that Pete has agreed to join us, and I thank the search committee for their great work," Martin said. “Pete’s experience, expertise and creative leadership will help us bring our communications to a new level. His accomplishments as a writer and communicator and his academic background make Pete a good fit for Amherst, given our values and goals. I look forward to working with him on our efforts to promote the liberal arts.”
Mackey, who has founded and led communications operations at private and public universities and foundations across a 25-year career, said that for him, serving the mission of Amherst would be an expression of his deepest values.
“Amherst exemplifies excellence in the liberal arts, and it is exciting to be given an opportunity to help tell the story of the faculty and students who bring that mission to life with such distinction in an era when I believe that mission matters more than ever,” Mackey said. “Under Biddy Martin’s strong leadership, Amherst is poised for a new level of excellence and achievement, and I am humbled that she has asked me to help her and Amherst bring its commitment and its ideals to the world in a fresh and comprehensive way.”
In this newly developed role at Amherst, Mackey will assume responsibility for developing and leading a comprehensive communications program across the college—including advancement, admissions and student life—and for bringing focus to the college’s communications strategy and institutional position. He will oversee all aspects of the college’s marketing, communications and public affairs across all print and digital formats, as well as major events.
Mackey has established and led four prior communications offices: for the University of South Carolina (USC), Science Foundation Ireland, the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation and Bucknell. He joined Bucknell as its first chief communications officer in 2006 and was named vice president there in 2008 and vice president for communications and community relations in 2011.
The search committee was chaired by Megan Morey, Amherst’s chief advancement officer, and included Patricia Allen, director of conferences and special events; Susan Pikor, chief of staff/secretary of the Board of Trustees; Brianda Reyes ’14; Missy Roser ’94, head of research and instruction at the Amherst College Library; Martha Umphrey, professor of law, jurisprudence and social thought; and Kevin Weinman, chief financial officer.
Mackey, who grew up in northern New Jersey, earned his Ph.D. in 20th-century British literature and literary theory from USC. He earned both his bachelor’s degree in English and legal studies and his master’s degree in film studies from Case Western Reserve University in four years, graduating Phi Beta Kappa. He has published widely, including his scholarly book, Chaos Theory and James Joyce’s Everyman (University Press of Florida, 1999). He has been a presenter at national and international professional conferences, and he taught in the English department throughout his time at USC. He currently co-chairs the communications committee for the Annapolis Group, a consortium of America’s top liberal arts colleges. He and his wife, Kyna, have two children, twin girls Rory and Danni, 4.
Mackey begins at Amherst on Monday, March 24.
About Amherst College
Founded in 1821, Amherst is a highly selective, coeducational liberal arts college with 1,800 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 37 fields of study. Sixty percent of Amherst students receive need-based financial aid.