President announces departure of UO's communications VP

Aerial view of campus

UO President Michael H. Schill sent the following message to the campus community Feb. 9:

Dear colleagues,

It is with conflicting emotions of pride and sadness that I announce Kyle Henley, vice president for University Communications, will be leaving the University of Oregon to become the senior vice president for communications at the University of Southern California. Pride, because USC’s interest in hiring Kyle reflects a recognition of the transformation he led in our ability to communicate to our internal and external constituents in both good times and bad. Sadness, because we will be losing someone whose advice I relied upon for five and a half years and whose presence will be missed in Johnson Hall and beyond.

Kyle HenleyDuring his time as vice president, Kyle transformed the university’s communications and marketing efforts. Under his leadership, University Communications elevated the UO’s profile and standing on the national and world stage; unified communication efforts across campus; helped to attract the largest, most qualified, and diverse student body in our history; helped to recruit world-class and more diverse faculty members; increased transparency about budgeting and tuition setting; and most recently, shared vital health and safety information as we navigated the pandemic, arguably the most challenging chapter of our university’s history.

When I hired Kyle, I told him his top priority was to move our faculty’s ground-breaking research to the front of our communications strategy. In short order, stories started appearing in a revamped Around the O, Oregon Quarterly, and social media presence that showcased the work of our faculty in the sciences, arts, humanities, social sciences, and professional schools. Through innovative programs such as Quack Chats, Wings, The Conversation, and faculty experts program, communications elevated awareness of our faculty and students’ scholarly achievements and impact.

Kyle oversaw communication strategy as we launched the Phil and Penny Knight Campus for Accelerating Scientific Impact, the Oregon Commitment to increase graduation rates, the creation of the Lyllye Reynolds-Parker Black Cultural Center and other inclusion efforts, the reimagining of Hayward Field, and the expansion of our fundraising campaign to $3 billion. He brought our branding and marketing efforts back in house.

During his tenure, communications helped to increase transparency and understanding of the university’s priorities and efforts through the creation of the platforms focused on tuition setting, student success, Title IX, budget and finance, equity and inclusion, economic impact, faculty hiring, workplace communications, and more. He leveraged our reputation as an athletic powerhouse and host of global competitions to highlight our strengths in academics, research, student experience, and our bucolic location. In short, Kyle and his team have been instrumental in helping us articulate and highlight our impact and success as an outstanding modern public research university. I am incredibly grateful to Kyle for his vision, counsel, and leadership.

Kyle’s final day at the university is February 28. We will launch a national search for a new vice president for University Communications immediately. Juan-Carlos Molleda, our dean of the School of Journalism and Communication, will chair the search committee and we will provide additional information about the process in the coming weeks. I have appointed Jennifer Lindsey to serve in the interim. Jennifer has served as assistant vice president and chief of staff for University Communications, and will work closely with both the senior communications leadership team as well as my leadership team.

Please join me in congratulating Kyle Henley on his new role at USC.

Sincerely,

Michael H. Schill
President and Professor of Law