Richie Hunter approved as VP for communications

March 23, 2023
Richie Hunter
Richie Hunter

Richie C. Hunter, a communications leader with more than 25 years of experience in higher education, health care and business, will become the University of Michigan’s next vice president for communications. 

Hunter currently serves as vice president for communications at the University of Oregon. Her appointment was approved by the U-M Board of Regents at its March 23 meeting on the Ann Arbor campus, and will be effective May 15. 

She succeeds Kallie Michels, who retired from the university in January. Rick Fitzgerald is serving as interim vice president and will return to his role as associate vice president for public affairs when Hunter’s appointment begins. 

“I’m so pleased to recommend Ms. Hunter’s appointment to the University of Michigan,” said President Santa J. Ono. “She has an exceptional background, including extensive experience in marketing, branding and media relations, and communications leadership roles at the University of Oregon, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and the University of Houston.

“She will serve a critical role, so I’d like to thank the search advisory committee, and I’m looking forward to working with her in the days ahead.” 

As the vice president for communications, Hunter will report to the president and serve as an executive officer of the university. She will act as the university’s chief communications officer with responsibility for comprehensive oversight of the communications function across U-M and will serve as the president’s key communications adviser. 

She also will manage the Office of the Vice President for Communications which includes executive and presidential communications, as well as Public Affairs, The University Record, Michigan News, Michigan Creative, Social Media and Public Engagement, the Freedom of Information Act Office and Michigan Radio.

“I am honored for the opportunity to join the University of Michigan,” Hunter said. “I look forward to working with everyone to advance the mission of this great institution.”

In her current role at the University of Oregon, Hunter has spearheaded several key marketing, branding and communications initiatives including the launch of the Ballmer Institute for Children’s Behavioral Health; the World Athletic Championships, which garnered more than a billion global viewers; and the launch of the Home Flight Scholars program, which supports Native American students. 

Before joining the University of Oregon in 2021, Hunter served in the top communications role at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, the nation’s oldest technological university. As vice president for strategic communications and external relations at RPI from 2016-21, she led a comprehensive rebuilding of the communications function and rebranding effort for the university titled “Why Not Change the World?” 

From 2013-16, Hunter was the vice chancellor and vice president for university marketing, communication and media relations for the four-campus University of Houston System, including the University of Houston, the system’s tier-one research institution and the second-most diverse university in the nation. 

Prior to her career in higher education, Hunter served for more than a decade in various executive-level marketing and communication roles in the health care industry. 

She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration from the University of Southern California and a Master of Science degree in business administration from Lamar University.