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University of Minnesota President-designate Eric Kaler names Amy Phenix chief of staff

March 8, 2011

Media note: To download a high resolution photo of Phenix, click here.

University of Minnesota President-designate Eric W. Kaler today named Amy Phenix as chief of staff. The hiring of Phenix is the first executive level appointment made by Kaler. Phenix is currently director of communications and public relations at Macalester College, St. Paul. She will join the university in mid-April and will work on transition issues to prepare for Kaler's assumption of the presidency on July 1. The appointment is subject to approval by the Board of Regents.

“I am very pleased Amy has agreed to return to the U in this role,” said Kaler. “The search committee and I talked to many people in the community about her, and it is clear that she is able to bring changes in a highly collaborative way, that she has many skills, and that she will be dedicated to our mission. I think she is the right fit at the right time for this expanded role, and I look forward to working with her to develop responses to the array of challenges before us. I believe the university community will enjoy working with her.”

Kaler also said that Phenix’s prior experience at the University of Minnesota, where she was director of news and public information from 1999 to 2004, gives her an understanding of how the university operates, while her more recent positions will let her bring a valuable outside perspective. She will have responsibility for overseeing several functions reporting to the president’s office, including athletics for operational aspects, communications, marketing, college relations, compliance and the University Senate office. Phenix also will play a key role in the university’s strategic planning process.

Phenix has an extensive background in management, marketing and communications. Prior to joining Macalester College, Phenix was vice president for marketing and communications at Allina Hospitals & Clinics in Minneapolis. She also served in communications management roles at Himle Horner Public Affairs in Minneapolis and as the communications director for the mayor of Minneapolis from 1997 to 1999.

“The chance to return to one of the top academic and research universities in the world is a unique opportunity,” said Phenix. “The impact that Dr. Kaler will have on the university and the ability to help advance that agenda will be truly exciting.”

Phenix holds a master of business administration degree from the Carlson School of Management, University of Minnesota, and a bachelor of arts degree from Macalester College. She was a fellow at the University of Minnesota's Humphrey School of Public Affairs Policy Forum.

A resident of Minneapolis, she is active in numerous civic and volunteer organizations and was a delegate to the United Nations Conference on Women, Beijing, China.

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Amy Phenix was the director of news and public information at the University of Minnesota from 1999 to 2004. To view a high resolution version of this photo, click here.

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