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University Marketing and Communications vice president to retire

Linda Blakley stands behind a chair in front of a window showing Chicago
Linda Blakley has led DePaul University communications since 2016. (DePaul University/Jamie Moncrief)

Linda Blakley, vice president for University Marketing and Communications, announced on Jan. 9 her decision to retire from DePaul this spring.

Blakley has served as vice president since April 2016. She joined DePaul in 2013, bringing more than 20 years of experience in strategic communications and marketing in the areas of higher education, retail, manufacturing and public utilities.

"It has been an honor to serve a university with a mission deeply rooted in providing the opportunity for all students to reach their full potential," Blakley says. "I feel privileged to have worked alongside a team of talented communications and marketing professionals to help tell DePaul's story."

As vice president, Blakley worked to promote, protect and cultivate DePaul's reputation for excellence. Under her leadership, UMC launched new waves of the successful advertising campaign "Here, We Do," which significantly elevated DePaul's market position for key audiences, particularly among Illinois teens and parents. DePaul also started a brand consistency effort, which included design updates across 21,000 web pages and development of nearly 300 branded templates.

Blakley oversaw the introduction of new ways to share DePaul's story, including the DePaul Download podcast, TEDx DePaul University and Newsline Daily. To help keep the university community safe and connected during the pandemic, Blakley led the UMC team to develop DePaul's COVID-19 website within two days. The site became a trusted information resource that has received nearly 1 million views since its launch.

Most recently, UMC led the effort to broadcast the beloved "Christmas at DePaul" production nationally for the first time, sharing it with PBS audiences across the country in December.

Prior to DePaul, Blakley was executive director at GolinHarris (today known as Golin) from 2010 to 2013. She served as senior manager of corporate communications and later as senior director of public relations and brand reputation at Walmart from 2004 to 2010. She held several communications positions with progressively increased responsibilities in her 16 years at Sears, Roebuck and Co.

Born and raised in Philadelphia, Blakley began her corporate communications career in Chicago after earning a journalism degree at Northwestern University. In her retirement, she looks forward to volunteering with local nonprofit organizations, globetrotting with her siblings and spending as much time as possible with her (nearly) 2-year-old grandson.

"Linda was one of the first people I met at DePaul. She played a significant role in introducing me to the university community and providing the communication tools needed for a successful start," says DePaul President Robert L. Manuel. "I will continue to seek her wise counsel as we take steps forward to design DePaul's future, and I wish her all my best as she begins a new chapter in her life."

More information about the next steps in UMC’s leadership transition will be shared with the university community soon.