July 20, 2017
Rick Fitzgerald and Elizabeth Parkinson have been appointed assistant vice presidents in the university's Office of the Vice President for Communications.
Fitzgerald, currently director of public affairs, will serve as assistant vice president for public affairs. Parkinson, currently executive director of marketing, will be the assistant vice president for marketing communications.
Both new positions were approved Thursday by the Board of Regents, and the two will begin their new duties Aug. 1.
"I appreciate the leadership both Elizabeth and Rick have shown, and I am glad to be able to count on them as they take on these new roles," said Kallie Bila Michels, vice president for communications.
Fitzgerald will serve as the chief officer to manage the university's communications related to emerging issues. He will guide and coordinate the work of Public Affairs and Internal Communications, collaborate closely with Michigan News and serve as the university's primary spokesperson. He also will act as the senior representative of the office in the absence of the vice president for communications.
Fitzgerald joined the Public Affairs staff in 2009 after a long career in the news business, most of it with The Ann Arbor News. While at The Ann Arbor News, he directed the newspaper's local news coverage, had the opportunity to launch two weekly newspapers and wrote a weekly column for more than a decade.
He was appointed associate director of public affairs at U-M in 2012, and was appointed director in 2014.
Fitzgerald graduated from Central Michigan University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism and English, and later earned a Master of Science in Administration, also from CMU.
Parkinson will serve as the chief officer to create an overarching university brand strategy, and to identify, develop and execute strategies to advance the brand and reputation locally, regionally, nationally and globally. She will manage the staffs of Michigan Creative, Michigan Photography and Michigan Media.
Parkinson joined U-M in 2016 as executive director of marketing. Prior to her time at U-M, she was senior vice president of marketing and partnerships for the Detroit Lions. There, she was responsible for their brand, fan experience and partner engagement.
She also has had leadership roles at the Michigan Economic Development Corp. where she oversaw the Pure Michigan campaign, Ann Arbor SPARK and Edelman in Chicago.
Parkinson earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in marketing and accounting from Alma College.