Linder named VP for Marketing & Communications

Native of Fergus Falls, Minn., among last year’s finalists for key UND position; slated to start new duties Sept. 4

Meloney Linder

Meloney Linder, who currently serves as the chief communication officer for University of Wisconsin’s School of Business, will replace longtime spokesman and interim Vice President for University & Public Affairs Peter Johnson.

UND President Mark Kennedy has appointed Meloney Golombiecki Linder to serve as vice president for marketing & communications.

Linder will begin her new duties Sept. 4.

“I am thrilled that Meloney Linder will be joining UND,” said President Kennedy. “She will be a wonderful addition to UND’s senior leadership team and I am sure will contribute in delivering ever more opportunity to our state and students. With her roots in Fergus Falls, Meloney’s regional sensibilities will allow her to be a contributor immediately.”

Linder will oversee marketing and creative services; video production; UND’s web presence and digital media with priority on branding, recruitment and retention; media relations including a focus on generating positive attention for UND in national media; crisis communication; public relations; internal and external communication including the University’s two primary messaging tools, UND Today and the University Letter; and ceremonies and university events.

Accomplished administrator

Linder serves as associate dean for communications, facilities and technology and chief communication officer for the University of Wisconsin (Madison) School of Business (WSB). Prior to that, she was the vice president of institutional advancement at the University of Texas at Brownsville, responsible for internal and external marketing and communication, as well as philanthropy.

A native of Fergus Falls, Minn., Linder holds a bachelor’s degree in mass communication with an emphasis in public relations from the University of Denver and a master’s degree in organizational management from Ashford University. She has more than 25 years of experience in corporate communications, marketing and brand management in public and private sectors.

“I’m really impressed with UND and Grand Forks,” said Linder, “and am familiar with UND’s reputation. It’s a prestigious university. I love the size, and its liberal arts and research focus.”

Linder was a finalist last September for the position, which was not filled until now.

“I’m delighted to come here,” Linder said. “I wanted to say yes in the fall, but due to personal circumstances, it was not the right time to make a move.”

“Those who interviewed Meloney during our original search were enthusiastically in support of her candidacy for the position, including me,” said President Kennedy. “I suspect that the UND Team’s progress toward achieving our One UND Strategic Plan and the State Board embracing a needs-based budget contributed to making this an even more attractive career opportunity for her.”

“UND’s strategic plan is thorough, aggressive and aspirational,” said Linder, who was part of the team which crafted and began implementing the strategic framework for the Wisconsin School of Business. “It’s one of the things that attracted me. Its goal is to do big things fast, and I’m looking forward to helping implement it. The Strategic Plan will improve UND and higher education in general.”

Replaces Peter Johnson

Linder will replace longtime spokesman and Interim Vice President for University & Public Affairs Peter Johnson, who “retired” last July but has been working part-time. He will continue to work half-time through the spring semester.

“I am greatly appreciative that Peter Johnson graciously agreed to further extend his long-delayed retirement to accommodate our extended search for the vice president position,” said President Kennedy. “Peter’s agreement to continue in his part time role through the end of the legislative session will allow UND to continue to benefit from his seasoned counsel and will contribute to assimilating Meloney into her new role. All of us at UND, especially me, are appreciative of Peter’s leadership and many contributions over his decades of service to UND.”

Teaching and research

Her experience at both teaching and research universities helped Linder prepare for her new role. She noted that the University of Texas at Brownsville is located in the poorest county in the U.S.

“Our job was to inspire students to believe in themselves, finish school, and change their world. Education makes a difference. At the University of Texas at Brownsville, many of the students grew up in poverty and most were first generation. I loved being a part of helping to individuals create better lives for themselves.”

At UW-Madison, Wisconsin School of Business, Linder said, she worked to tell stories about the value of research.

“I want to do the same at UND,” she said.

Linder is especially happy to soon be closer to Fergus Falls, where her parents still live. She and her husband have two daughters.

“UND provides the opportunity to take my experiences and do what I love, closer to home,” she said. “The reason we are at a university is to teach and educate students. I find that really exciting.”