OSWEGO — SUNY Oswego hired Wayne Westervelt as the new chief communication officer for the college, President Deborah F. Stanley announced.
“I am very pleased to welcome Wayne’s leadership in this important position,” Stanley said. “He is often recognized by his colleagues as a strong team builder, seasoned communicator and innovative professional.”
Westervelt brings 20 years of experience in the fields of marketing, communications, media and public relations, including the past 18 years in supervisory roles at Syracuse University, Cazenovia College and in the public sector as a communications/public information manager for the Central New York Regional Planning and Development Board.
In his most recent role, as the director of communications and media for the Institute for Veteran and Military Families at Syracuse University, he reported to the vice chancellor as a member of the IVMF leadership team. His responsibilities included leading the national marketing and promotion efforts to tell the story of the institute and its mission to advance the post-service lives of America’s service members, veterans and their families.
Prior to that position, Westervelt spent more than a decade at Cazenovia College, ending his tenure as the vice president for marketing and communications and as a member of the president’s leadership team.
While at Cazenovia, he successfully implemented marketing and communications tactics that advanced the college.
Westervelt led the creation of Cazenovia College’s media relations plan, branding initiative and the college’s first-ever integrated marketing plan. He managed the college’s crisis communications plan and a staff of seven in his department.
President Mark Tierno, currently of MacMurray College, was the Cazenovia College president during Westervelt’s years at the college and applauds SUNY Oswego’s decision to hire Westervelt.
“Wayne Westervelt is one of the most knowledgeable and skilled professionals with whom I have worked in my 40-year career,” Tierno said. “SUNY Oswego is greatly advantaged by adding Wayne’s extraordinary capabilities to President Stanley’s senior leadership team.”
Kristi Eck, the chair of the search committee and chief of staff to President Stanley, shared similar thoughts. “Wayne stood out to the search committee as an individual with tremendous knowledge, a genuine ability to connect with others and the passion and commitment needed to excel in the position,” Eck said. “We are all looking forward to Wayne’s first day.”
He will begin his new position at SUNY Oswego on Sept. 8.
Westervelt earned his master’s in public administration from the Maxwell School of Public Affairs at Syracuse University and his bachelor’s in English/communications from Le Moyne College.
As chief communication officer, Westervelt replaces Julie Harrison Blissert, who retired earlier this summer after more than 30 years of exceptional service to the college.
In recent years, Blissert led the transformation of the Office of Public Affairs to the Office of Communications and Marketing.
Blissert is credited with helping develop and empower a forward-thinking and talented staff of programmers, writers and designers. She and this team created a modernized digital-first approach, including the popular web-based Campus Update biweekly e-newsletter, the SUNY Oswego annual reports and the “Tomorrow: Greater Impact and Success” strategic plan.
Their materials have won awards from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education, Educational Digital Marketing, APEX, SUNY Council for University Advancement and other professional associations.
“As an individual greatly respected for her wealth of institutional knowledge, clear writing style, keen attention to detail and sound judgment, Julie often served as a valuable college resource on many key committees and workgroups including founding and leading the college-wide Communications Council,” President Stanley said. “We thank Julie for her dedication and contributions to the college and look forward to welcoming Wayne to our team next month.”