University of Montana President Royce Engstrom has hired Peggy Kuhr as the University’s vice president for integrated communications and Mario Schulzke as assistant vice president for marketing.
The two UM alumni will fill the top leadership posts in the reconfigured Office of Integrated Communications. Kuhr’s official start date as vice president is Jan. 15, and Schulzke’s appointment became effective Jan. 2.
“My vision for the Office of Integrated Communications included recruiting a respected professional with a passion for the University and a desire to increase the effectiveness of communications both on and off campus,” Engstrom said. “The search process not only identified Peggy as the right person for the vice president for integrated communications but also led us to Mario, who impressed the search committee with his vision and energy to address UM’s immediate and long-term marketing and digital media needs.”
Schulzke’s new administrative position will be funded by restructuring two vacant positions in UM’s University Relations office.
“Even just one month ago, it had not occurred to me that I might be the best fit for the permanent vice president position,” Kuhr said. “It was only when I stopped and thought through how many people from across campus and the community were asking me to apply that I truly considered it.”
Kuhr is thrilled to have been selected from a highly competitive applicant pool to further serve her alma mater and truly make the new position her own.
“I recognize it is unusual to have someone serve as a search committee chair, resign from the post and apply for the vacancy,” Kuhr said. “My mission had been to lead a committee that would deliver to President Engstrom a handful of candidates who would best fit the scope of this newly configured position. It wasn’t until late in the process that I realized my qualifications would mirror the type of candidate the committee was charged with identifying.”
UM conducted a national search for the vice president position, and Kuhr and Schulzke were two of five finalists who completed on-campus interviews. The vice president for integrated communications reports to the president and serves as a member of the president’s cabinet.
Kuhr was appointed interim vice president in August 2012. Before this appointment, she served as dean of the School of Journalism beginning in August 2007. She had a 26-year career in newspapers before joining the University of Kansas in 2002 as Knight Chair on the Press, Leadership and Community.
Schulzke has extensive experience helping organizations and businesses define their marketing and digital strategies. His positions have included service as senior director of digital strategy for Los Angeles-based WDCW and founder of IdeaMensch, a digital publication with the mission of helping entrepreneurs bring their ideas to life.
“I couldn’t be more excited to be back on campus for this opportunity,” Schulzke said. “UM has so many positive stories and achievements to highlight, and I can’t wait to start helping tell those stories via the Web, traditional and social media.”