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Jackson Hired as Top University Spokesperson

By Claire E. Parker, Crimson Staff Writer

UPDATED: December 17, 2016 at 3:35 p.m.

Melodie L. Jackson, who previously worked as head spokesperson at the Kennedy School of Government, has filled the role of Assistant Vice President for Communications, a position that a top University spokesperson left vacant this fall.

Jackson replaces Jeff Neal, who served as a University spokesperson for seven years before leaving Harvard in July to work on a writing project. The Assistant Vice President for Communications oversees the communications arm of the University’s centralized public relations office, Harvard Public Affairs and Communications.

HPAC handles the University’s interactions with the media and the public, efforts to lobby the federal government, and publication of the Harvard Gazette.

“Melodie is a skilled and collaborative communications leader who knows Harvard well,” Paul Andrew, the University’s Vice President for Public Affairs and Communication, wrote in a statement. “I am delighted that she will bring her knowledge and experience to lead HPAC’s talented communications team in its efforts to share the University’s priorities with our campus community and audiences beyond.”

Jackson is not new to Harvard: she has worked at the University for 11 years since becoming the Kennedy School’s head spokesperson in 2005. In that role, she managed communications surrounding the school’s controversial former Academic Dean Stephen M. Walt's decision to step down from that position, budget cuts at the Institute of Politics after the 2008 recession, and most recently, the Kennedy School’s capital campaign. She also helped lead a major rebranding effort at the school in 2007.

Before arriving at Harvard, Jackson held senior positions at Citizens Bank, Stanford University’s medical school, and the University of Maryland Medical System.

—Staff writer Claire E. Parker can be reached at claire.parker@thecrimson.com. Follow her on Twitter @ClaireParkerDC.

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:

CORRECTION: December 17, 2016

A previous version of this article incorrectly indicated that Stephen W. Walt, formerly the Academic Dean of the Kennedy School of Government, departed the school. In fact, he stepped down as academic dean and remains a professor at the school.

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