Updated 2:10 p.m. – Schoenfeld told NashvillePost.com this afternoon that, while he takes tremendous pride in his accomplishments at Vanderbilt and the team he has developed here, his new role at Duke is "a tremendous professional opportunity – perhaps the most exciting in higher education today – at my alma mater and a place that has a lot of meaning to me and my family."
As originally reported:
Vanderbilt University announced today that Vice Chancellor for Public Affairs Mike Schoenfeld will leave the university July 1 to take a similar role at his alma mater, Duke University.
Schoenfeld served under Chancellors Gordon Gee and Joe Wyatt and Interim Chancellor Nick Zeppos. He joined Vanderbilt in 1997, having previously been in a chief communications role at the Corporation for Public Broadcasting in Washington, D.C.
During his tenure, Schoenfeld is widely credited with having increased Vanderbilt's profile and advancing the university's reputation for academic excellence, diversity and public service. Through a host of challenges, controversies and coups during Schoenfeld's watch, Vanderbilt has increased its standing on the national stage.
During the university's search for Schoenfeld's successor, Associate Vice Chancellor Beth Fortune will serve as interim division head. Fortune joined Vanderbilt in 2000, after six years as press secretary to then-Gov. Don Sundquist.
In a release earlier today, Schoenfeld said, "When I came [to Vanderbilt] almost 12 years ago, it was my goal for Vanderbilt to quickly be recognized by our peers as setting the standard for communications and advocacy, and to add value to every part of the university's mission. I believe we have exceeded even those lofty ambitions, and I could not be more proud. Vanderbilt today is more visible, better understood by people around the world, and clearly at the front ranks of American higher education."
In the same release, Zeppos said, "Mike has made every part of Vanderbilt better."
Zeppos added that Schoenfeld is a "leader, a thinker and a doer, a brilliant strategist whose commitment to Vanderbilt's students, faculty and staff will make a difference here for a long time to come."
Schoenfeld's wife, Elizabeth, is director of the Vanderbilt Programs for Talented Youth and founder of the Vanderbilt Summer Academy. She, too, is a Duke University graduate.