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De Graffenreid Named Vice Chancellor for Marketing and Communications at MU

July 24th, 2014

Story Contact: Christian Basi, 573-882-4430,

COLUMBIA, Mo. ­— University of Missouri Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin announced today that Ellen de Graffenreid, senior vice president for communications at Brandeis University, has been named vice chancellor of marketing and communications at MU, effective Sept. 2, 2014.

“Over the course of her 20-year career in the higher education, academic medicine and technology sectors, Ellen has served in many roles, leading the integrated marketing and communication efforts of several major universities,” Loftin said. “I’m looking forward to working with her as Mizzou continues to position itself as one of the premier land-grant, research institutions in the nation.”

Prior to her current position at Brandeis University, de Graffenreid served as director of communications and marketing for the University of North Carolina Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, director of communications and marketing at the University of Louisville Health Sciences Center, and director of communications and donor relations at the Washington State University Foundation. As the chief communications officer at Brandeis, de Graffenreid has provided direction and leadership for communications, branding, marketing and government relations. Brandeis University, located in Waltham, Mass., is an AAU-member university.

“I am excited to have the opportunity to lead a talented staff in developing an integrated marketing strategy that conveys the quality of the people, programs and discoveries that make up one of this nation’s premier land-grant universities,” de Graffenreid said. “Everyone I have met cares deeply about the institution, and I look forward to joining the Mizzou family.”

At Brandeis University, she led the creation of a research-based strategic messaging platform and implemented an annual strategic communications planning process. Her teams have garnered multiple awards from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) and the American Association of Medical Colleges’ Group on Institutional Advancement.

De Graffenreid received a bachelor’s degree in history from Indiana University, a master’s degree in Russian and Soviet history from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and a master’s degree in business administration from the University of North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler Business School. She is a member of CASE and a former member of the National Cancer Institute Public Affairs Network. Before returning to higher education, de Graffenreid worked in several different roles at the Hewlett-Packard Corporation and as a consultant for numerous clients in the technology industry.

“We’re thrilled that Ellen will be joining us,” said Joan Gabel, dean of the Trulaske College of Business and chair of the search committee. “Along with her AAU experience and Missouri roots, she has a strong portfolio of marketing and communication skills that can take our very strong team to the next level. I also appreciate the hard work of the search committee; they did a great job finding a great person for this position.”

De Graffenreid’s parents, R.E. (Gene) and Nancy Kirkham Forderhase, are both MU alumni and hold five degrees from Mizzou. Her husband, Adrian, is an attorney and retired U.S. Foreign Service officer.

De Graffenreid will replace Mary Jo Banken, who has been serving as interim assistant to the chancellor for university affairs since February 2014.

EDITOR’S NOTE: de Graffenreid is pronounced “dee-GRAPH-en-reed”