Staffing transitions in the Office of Communication & Marketing

Melissa Kaczmarek has announced her intention to step down from her position as Director of Communication in the Office of Communication & Marketing, effective Aug. 25, 2021.

Assistant Director of Communication Andrew Bruso ’08 ’12g (English) has been appointed to succeed Kaczmarek in this role.

Chrissie Williams, assistant director of media relations and magazine editor, will be promoted to associate director of media relations and assume the role of College spokesperson, previously held by Kaczmarek.

“We have been so fortunate as a campus community to have Melissa Kaczmarek leading our media relations and other communication efforts during these past nine years,” said Vice President for Communication and Chief of Staff Shelly Wright. “She has taken on increasing levels of responsibility during her tenure at New Paltz and has built strong relationships with campus members and media. Her exemplary work in crisis communication, advertising, internal communication efforts and showcasing faculty research has contributed greatly to the College’s strong reputation with regional media, in the Hudson Valley and throughout the state. We will miss her commitment, expertise and leadership, but we wish her well as she devotes herself to raising her young children.”

“I am grateful to Andrew and Chrissie for stepping up to take on more responsibility in the Office of Communication and Marketing,” Wright added. “Both are talented communication professionals who will continue to build on the level of excellence this communication team is well known for.”

As part of this transition, Rich Winters, director of community and government relations, will supervise Assistant Director of Creative Jeff Lesperance, who previously reported to Kaczmarek. Winters already supervises Assistant Director of Design & Brand Services Laura Kniffen.

Kaczmarek has been a key contributor to SUNY New Paltz’s communication, news and media strategy since joining the College in 2013.

She helped develop and execute communication plans for major institutional events and programs including the College’s 3D printing initiative; several major building openings and renovations; the campus building renaming process; and the recent announcement of President Christian’s planned June 2022 retirement, among many others.

Kaczmarek also coordinated or oversaw projects like the Academic Minute series of faculty interviews broadcast on NPR-affiliate stations nationwide, the New Paltz Magazine for alumni, and the College’s social media strategy for engaging diverse audiences across contemporary platforms.

Bruso is a two-time alumnus of New Paltz’s Department of English who joined the College as a writer in 2015 and became assistant director of communication in 2019.

He manages day-to-day editorial processes for the New Paltz News Hub, the Daily Digest newsletter and other campus publications, and contributes content and strategy to support a range of other internal and external communication and marketing priorities.

Bruso has also built strong relationships and collaborative partnerships with colleagues across campus through the Office of Communication & Marketing’s Liaison and Unit Rep. model.

Williams has led the planning, content creation and production of the New Paltz Magazine since joining the College in 2014, and oversaw development of the College’s first-ever multimedia, online version of the Magazine in 2017.

She has served as backup media spokesperson for the College for several years and brings extensive experience in media and journalism to her work, including several years as a multimedia reporter for The Poughkeepsie Journal, which has equipped her well to lead our media relations efforts, including both responding to inquiries and proactively pitching stories to media outlets.

A frequent collaborator with the Office of Development & Alumni Relations, Williams has also been a core member of the team working on Soaring Higher: The Campaign for New Paltz, and is the editor of Connect, the College’s monthly alumni e-newsletter.