Marketing and Communications Department No Longer Houses Under Development and Enrollment Operations

Investment in the newly independent sector aims to increase enrollment, strengthen the university’s profile and boost connections with donors and alumni



Donna Lehmann, former associate vice president of marketing will assume the position of Interim Vice President for Marketing and Communications.

CORRECTION: A previous version of this article specified that the university marketing and communications (UMC) department is shifting their focus from development and enrollment to strategy. The UMC department will remain focused on enrollment and fundraising, with a more strategic angle. As of Feb. 20, this article has been updated to reflect this information.

Effective immediately, the university’s marketing and communications department will become a stand-alone division led by a vice president who will report directly to University President Tania Tetlow, J.D., according to an email she sent to the Fordham community on Feb. 17. Donna Lehmann, former associate vice president of marketing, will serve as the interim vice president while a national search is being conducted. The search committee will be chaired by Lerzan Aksoy, dean of the Gabelli School of Business, and a marketing professor.

According to the university’s website, the mission of the university marketing and communications department (UMC) is to ensure that Fordham’s “character, brand, reputation and community” are effectively conveyed. Additionally, UMC was established to support the promotion of and facilitate relations between Fordham’s schools, centers and administrative offices.

Prior to its remodeling, UMC was housed under development and enrollment operations in the university’s administrative and leadership sector. Currently, UMC oversees Fordham’s brand guidelines, advertising and marketing, news and media relations, photography and videos, social media pages, and website management.

Lehmann noted that the university’s move is reflective of trends across higher education to shift marketing and communications to have a more strategic focus on development and enrollment operations. She expressed her hope that the new structure will be more efficient and assist the university in marketing itself.

UMC previously reported to the vice president of development and university relations, which fell under fundraising and alumni relations. Following the decision for UMC to become a stand-alone department, it will now report directly to the president. 

“I often hear that Fordham is a best-kept secret, a remarkable place that doesn’t get the attention it deserves,” Tetlow stated in the announcement. “I would like to take a step in correcting that by investing more in our marketing and communications—the work that builds our profile, connects with our alumni and donors, and most of all, increases our enrollment.” 

Lehmann currently serves as the associate vice president for marketing within UMC and has been a member of the university’s staff since September 2013. Her previous occupations at Fordham include assistant vice president for marketing, senior director of marketing and communications, and director of online communications. She was also a media relations associate at Yeshiva University from July 1998 to November 1999 and a web communications manager at the Fashion Institute of Technology from November 1999 to August 2013.

Serving an instrumental role in launching the university’s website in 2014, Lehmann helped with  the creation of the website to be aimed at introducing a user-centric homepage display that features the university’s calendars, news feed and social media outlets. The new portal was also intended to be adaptable to different devices, such as mobile phones, tablets and desktop computers.  

The search committee to recruit a new vice president of marketing will host listening sessions to gain the input of its members, according to the university email. They will also focus on enlisting a specialist in marketing who will have a direct impact on the university’s finances. Bob Howe, assistant vice president for communications and special adviser to the president, will remain in his current position. 

According to Lehmann, functions of UMC will remain the same.

“The University Marketing and Communications team at Fordham has been serving a wide swath of departments and divisions, as well as supporting enrollment, fundraising, and alumni relations, so those responsibilities won’t change,” she said.

There will, however, be an increased emphasis on national and international brand awareness and innovative multi-channel marketing, which intends to integrate the efforts of the team in attracting prospective students across advertising, Fordham’s website, print publications and, especially, social media. 

Tetlow concluded the email by expressing her hope that the new team will grow Fordham’s profile, engage alumni and recruit an impressive catalog of students. Lehmann shared that she is excited to assume the position and is grateful to Tetlow for her confidence in her team.