NEW PALTZ — Kenneth B. Ross of Naperville, Illinois will join the staff of SUNY New Paltz in late June to lead the university’s Office of Public Affairs. A search committee with representatives from the administration, faculty, student body and alumni selected Ross following a national search. He succeeds Karen Summerlin, who held the position for 20 years before her retirement in December 1999.
“Ken has extensive experience in media relations and strategic planning,” said Lisa Ciaccio, the search committee chairwoman and the university’s director of business operations.
Most recently, Ross was a vice president with Edelman Public Relations Worldwide in Chicago. At Edelman, he helped corporations from a variety of industries build a reputation and develop a crisis preparedness plan.
“I am excited to be part of the SUNY New Paltz team,” Ross said. “The university is an endless source of good news highlighting the development of young minds and the accomplishments of dedicated faculty, staff and students.”
Before Edelman, Ross was the strategic communications director for the nuclear business unit of ComEd, which operates the nation’s largest fleet of commercial nuclear power plants. At ComEd, he focused on employee communications and played an integral role in the company’s performance turnaround and improved public image in Northern Illinois.
Prior to joining ComEd, Ross served 12 years as an officer in the U.S. Navy. He was a public affairs specialist, acting as an official spokesman for the Navy at the Pentagon, the Navy’s Pacific Fleet headquarters and aboard an aircraft carrier. He continues to serve as a reservist assigned to NATO’s Atlantic Command.
The university’s provost and vice president for academic affairs, David Lavallee, expressed his pleasure with regard to Ross’ appointment. He said, “With his extensive experience, energy and organizational skills, we are confident that Ken Ross will have a very positive impact on the public’s awareness of the excellence of our programs and our commitment to continual development.”
Ross graduated from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst with a degree in journalism. He is married to the former Mary Ann Maron of Oradell, New Jersey. They have four children: Geoffrey, 12; Allison, 10; Samantha, 5; and Eryk, 1.