Nancy E. Paton, a national leader in higher education marketing and communications, has been named vice president for strategic communications and marketing at the University of Florida.
She will be responsible for leading the communication of UF’s accomplishments and goals within the university community, nationally and globally and guiding UF’s strategic initiatives to build its stature and reputation.
Named the Higher Education Marketer of the Year by the American Marketing Association in 2017, Paton will assume her role effective Oct. 1.
“Nancy is a strategic communications leader who brings exceptional knowledge and experience to this position,” said UF President Kent Fuchs. “She understands the challenges facing higher education, has a proven track record of effective leadership and offers a refreshing new perspective on traditional and social media, as well as marketing. She will be a thoughtful and innovative addition to our leadership team.”
Her appointment concludes a national search.
“We had an excellent pool of candidates, but Nancy’s experience as an accomplished communications strategist, achievements at the University at Buffalo and unmistakable talent and energy made her the clear choice,” said Diane McFarlin, dean of the College of Journalism and Communications and the chair of the search committee that conducted the search to fill the position. “I’m confident she will advance UF’s reputational excellence while serving as an inspirational leader and colleague.”
Paton (pronounced “Payton”) will head UF’s central communications and marketing operations, overseeing marketing and branding, media relations and news, issues management and public affairs, campus outreach, creative services, video and photography services, and social and digital media.
“I feel honored to be chosen to lead the University of Florida’s strategic communications, marketing and public affairs efforts,” Paton said. “UF’s distinctive excellence in academic, research and societal engagement, combined with a bold vision to achieve even greater impact, creates an unparalleled communications opportunity to propel the institution as a statewide, national and international thought leader.
“Telling the story of this renowned public research university through its academic excellence, research advancements and societal impact – in collaboration with the Board of Trustees, academic and administrative leadership, faculty, staff and supporters – is a rare opportunity,” she said.
“I very much look forward to building relationships across the university and within the communities that UF serves to advance the university’s vision.”
The University at Buffalo, where Paton serves as the inaugural vice president for communications, is the largest research university in the State University of New York System and, like UF, a member of the Association of American Universities. There, Paton oversaw the university’s first comprehensive brand and identity strategy, co-led by a committee of more than 60 faculty, administrators, students, alumni leaders and volunteers, and elevated the university’s presence in the national and international media.
Prior to the University at Buffalo, Paton worked until 2013 as Kaiser Permanente’s chief public affairs officer for the Ohio region, where she was the executive leader for consumer and business-to-business marketing, strategic communications, brand management and governmental relations.
Also in Ohio, she developed a consulting firm after serving as University Hospitals’ chief marketing and communications officer from 2007 to 2010. Before that, she served in the top communications role of Oakwood Healthcare, in Dearborn, Michigan, from 2000 to 2007.
A nationally recognized speaker and presenter in her field, Paton earned her bachelor’s degree in mass media and communications from the University of Akron and her master of science in management degree from Purdue University.
Paton is the first to serve as UF’s vice president for strategic communications and marketing, one of two new positions created following the retirement of Jane Adams this spring. Mark E. Kaplan was earlier named to the other position, vice president for government and community relations.