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Communication pro Karen Clarke named University Relations AVP

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Karen Clarke, a communication and marketing veteran with nearly 30 years of experience, took the helm of the Office of University Relations in October.

Clarke serves as associate vice chancellor and associate vice president for university relations,
responsible for university communication, creative services and marketing. She succeeds Wendy Adair, who has transitioned to new duties as associate vice chancellor and associate vice president for development communications.

“I am pleased that Karen has joined the university advancement (UA) team. Her university experience and branding expertise, as well as her communication and management style, are a great match for UH,” said Michael Rierson, vice chancellor and vice president for UA. “I know she will lead our university relations efforts to an even higher level of success and help position UH as a leader in the community and the nation.”

Clarke, former director of corporate communications at the Depository Trust & Clearing Corp. in Tampa, Fla., brings extensive experience in academia, corporate communications and media relations to the campus.

From 2002 to 2005, Clarke was associate vice president for university relations at the University of South Florida (USF), the third-largest public university in the state. She was the chief branding and communications officer at USF.

There, Clarke developed integrated marketing communications plans for areas of strategic priority. Additionally, she created and implemented communication programs for four campuses, 12 colleges, the university president, board of trustees and foundation board.

“A university’s reputation is built on the success of its faculty. At UH, there are examples of excellence in every area of campus,” Clarke said. “This is an outstanding university, and I look forward to highlighting the stellar efforts and achievements of the UH faculty and staff.”

At USF, Clarke led the development of USF’s new logo and branding plan, provided strategic communications counsel to the president, and managed crisis communications, media relations,Web site development, publications, marketing, advertising, creative services, community outreach, constituent relations, development communications and public affairs.

Her previous positions include executive director of marketing and communications for the University of Miami Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, senior account director for Hill and Knowlton Inc. and director of marketing and strategic communication at H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute. She earned a B.S. in journalism and Latin American Studies from the University of Florida and was a reporter and metro desk editor for the Florida TODAY newspaper and Gannett News.