Ellen de Graffenreid Named Vice President for Communications and Marketing

April 28, 2022
Ellen de Graffenreid

Ellen de Graffenreid will be joining Grinnell College as the new vice president for communications and marketing. She is currently senior associate vice president for academic and executive communications at Syracuse University in New York. As a member of Grinnell’s senior leadership team, de Graffenreid will develop integrated strategic communications initiatives to advance the College’s image and reputation as one of the best liberal arts colleges in the nation. She will begin work at Grinnell on June 15, 2022.

“Ellen is highly esteemed by her peers and colleagues for working collaboratively with students, faculty, staff, and alumni,” said Grinnell President Anne F. Harris. “I look forward to the knowledgeable and collaborative leadership experience Ellen will bring to Grinnell’s crucial communications and marketing work.”

De Graffenreid comes to Grinnell with more than 20 years of experience leading marketing and communications programs for higher education and academic medicine; she has also led award-winning integrated marketing communications programs that built national and international recognition for the institutions she served.

"In every interaction with Grinnell College people, I have been energized by their commitment to rigorous and open inquiry and engagement with the most pressing problems we face as human societies,” de Graffenreid said about her Grinnell College appointment. “This is a community that lives its values in large and small ways, with a spirit of possibility, a willingness to put in the necessary work, and the utmost confidence that Grinnellians will make a positive difference in the world. I am honored to have the opportunity to tell their stories in a way that honors Grinnell’s academic rigor and distinctive approach to liberal arts education,” she added.

Prior to joining Syracuse in 2018, de Graffenreid held high-level appointments at Duke University’s Robert J. Margolis, MD, Center for Health Policy; Brandeis University; the University of North Carolina (UNC) Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, and UNC Cancer Care; University of Louisville Health Sciences Center; and the Washington State University Foundation. Her previous career experience was in market research, competitive intelligence, and thought leadership communications for technology companies.

De Graffenreid earned a bachelor’s degree in history, magna cum laude, from Indiana University-Bloomington, where she was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. She earned a master’s in Russian and Soviet history from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, and a Master of Business Administration from UNC’s Kenan-Flagler Business School.

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