UF Names Vice President for Public Relations
John V. Lombardi, President
University of Florida President John V. Lombardi announced the appointment of Dr. Gail F. Baker as Vice President for Public Relations effective July 26. Baker has been serving as Director of University Communications since January.
“Dr. Baker’s work as Director of University Communications clearly demonstrated the importance of expert and experienced leadership in this area. The university’s vice-presidents have asked that we move quickly to provide Dr. Baker with the support and mission needed to serve all of the university’s public relations needs,” said Dr. Lombardi. “Dr. Baker provides a dynamic presence to lead the university as we continue our efforts to reflect the tremendous accomplishments of our faculty, students, and staff in bringing us to the position of a nationally competitive research university. In this competitive environment, we must ensure that our constituencies understand our mission and recognize our faculty, students, and staff’s accomplishments. Dr. Baker will direct a comprehensive, university-wide communications program that will plan a critical role in helping us achieve our missions,” he said.
Baker heads the new Office of Public Relations, formed to establish an on-going program to strengthen and streamline UF’s communications and relations with its various audiences. While the university anticipates no reassignments of current units, Dr. Baker will coordinate with all the public relations and communications staff in university units and will guide the development, implementation, and evaluation of the university-wide strategy for communicating with our many internal and external constituencies. An announcement regarding details of this new program is expected by the end of July.
Before assuming her appointment as Director of University Communications Baker served as associate professor and chair of the Department of Public Relations within the College of Journalism.
Prior to arriving in Florida in 1995, Baker served as the chair of the Department of Advertising at the University of Missouri-Columbia where she had earned a Ph.D. in Journalism. She also holds a Master of Science degree in Marketing Communications from Roosevelt University and a Bachelor of Science degree in Journalism from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.
Her industry experience includes professional communications positions with IBM and International Harvester (now Navistar) as well as serving as the managing editor for the Chicago Daily Defender Newspaper. She is the author of Advertising and Marketing to the New Majority and co-author of Exploding Stereotypes: Milestones in Black Newspaper Research. The author of articles on cross-cultural communications, ethnic public relations and advertising and marketing, Baker also won awards for excellence in teaching and scholarship.