University Relations

Unit Annual Report





Judy Riley                      staff, campus communications coordinator (full time)

Amanda Sayles             work-study office assistant

Nicole Herberg             work-study photographer

Matt Gilmore                 work-study news writer

Jackie Thrasher            intern for course credit, news service, fall semester




University Relations serves as the public relations, news service and media relations office for the Morris campus. The office works in cooperation with the External Relations units of Alumni Relations, Fund Development, and Special Events to build and maintain a favorable image for the University with both internal and external audiences. The office provides a variety of services to a diverse constituency both on and off campus.    



University Relations provides news and some photo coverage for the campus, and disseminates a variety of information regarding UMM to local, state, and national media outlets.   


The coordinator compiles information, writes and coordinates placement of news and feature stories, and pitches story ideas to all-University publications produced on the Minneapolis campus -- Brief, M, eNews, and Minnesota magazine as well as the web-based U publication, UMNnews and the Morris campus alumni news magazine, Profile. The coordinator pitches story ideas to statewide media, including the Minneapolis Star Tribune, St. Paul Pioneer Press, and MPR, among others. The coordinator serves as the news service liaison between the campus and local, regional, statewide and national media -- meets and greets news reps, introduces them to campus spokes persons, provides general campus information, connects reporters with campus experts, coordinates news conferences, etc.


University Relations produces weekly issues of the official campus newsletter, Weekly Bulletin, disseminates news and announcements campuswide, and keeps the campus apprised of campus-related local, regional, statewide and national news coverage. The coordinator works with Student Activities to compile information for the weekly Campus Calendar show on KMRS Morris AM radio.


University Relations works with other campuses of the University of Minnesota, institutions of education at all levels, and many off-campus businesses and organizations to answer

questions, provide general and specific information, and serve as a liaison between UMM and non-media UMM constituents.


The office coordinates several special events that bring visitors to the campus, bring the campus to external audiences, enhance the visibility of the campus and in general advance UMM and its mission (see list below under Narrative and/or Statistical).


University Relations assists off-campus groups with requests for use of campus facilities. This assistance includes meeting and touring the facility with the potential users, providing rental rates and policy information, discussing physical room setups, coordinating campus units to provide requested setups and services, and compiling and disseminating billing and payment information.


The coordinator places news stories and the Weekly Bulletin on the University Relations web site, and works with the web calendar coordinator to create links between the web "News and Events" page and news stories. 


Narrative and/or Statistical


A. External/Internal Relations activities:


  1. Member, Administrative Committee
  2. Member, Integrated Marketing/Communications group
  3. Member, External Relations group
  4. Member, Student Center Committee
  5. Member, New Student Orientation Planning Committee
  6. Campus representative to Morris Area Chamber of Commerce and Agriculture Board of Directors
  7. Member, Morris Area Chamber Events/Fundraising Committee
  8. Coordinate UMM booth at Stevens County Fair  
  9. Coordinated Morris campus part of U of M State Fair Exhibit
  10. Found and coordinated entertainment from UMM for U of M Maroon and Gold Day at State Fair
  11. Coordinated Morris campus [Cougar] portion of U mascot historical exhibit at Heritage Gallery, McNamara Alumni Center
  12. Coordinated arrangements for President's State of the U Address broadcast to Morris campus
  13. Chamber committee plans Morris Area Business Expo during New Student Orientation
  14. Chamber committee plans and executes City/Chamber Community Welcome Back Picnic
  15. Chamber committee plans and executes Chamber Annual Meeting
  16. Volunteer, Prairie Pioneer Days Chamber booth
  17. Chamber committee plans and executes Chamber Eye-Openers [begun in 2003]
  18. Provide media relations for Chamber Events/Fundraising Committee 
  19. Attended Learning Unlimited/Heritage Preservers series on media
  20. Coordinated visit by URelations-TC photographer to take chancellor's and Horace T. Morse awardee photos
  21. Researched and helped to prepare materials for Morris presentation at All-America City competition in Atlanta, Ga.
  22. Coordinated facilities for annual Chamber Board of Directors Retreat


B.   Publications and Advertising

1.     Produced newspaper and radio ads for 2nd Annual Symposium on Small Towns

2.     Placed news item in Prairie Business magazine for 2nd Annual Symposium on Small Towns

3.     Assisted with news prep for New Student Orientation newspaper

4.     Produced and placed advertising for Thanksgiving and New Year's holidays in local newspaper and radio station

5.     Produced and placed advertising in regional media for Spring Ball Fundraiser

6.     Responded to several inquiries by advertising representatives, and shared inquiries with the Office of Admissions

7.     Produce topic sheets at request of AVC-External Relations


C.   News Service


Office responsibilities include coordinating and implementing a news service for the campus. Work-study student writers and the coordinator research, interview and write news releases distributed by the office. The coordinator edits all material prior to distribution.


University Relations wrote and distributed:

-         126 news releases on general topics about UMM students, faculty, staff, events and programs

-         200 releases to students' hometown newspapers announcing their graduation

-         Approximately 200 releases per semester to students' hometown newspapers announcing their selection to the Dean's List

-         1,342 releases to students' hometown newspapers announcing their admission to UMM, campus participation, scholarships, honors and awards, research, etc.


Publicity to students' hometown newspapers is enthusiastically received and published, as evidenced from newspaper clippings returned from publications throughout the state and beyond, and comments from newspaper editors during personal visits.



University Relations compiled, wrote and disseminated 30 issues of the Weekly Bulletin, including four issues during the summer.


Coordinated monthly interviews by the chancellor and other faculty and staff with Morris radio station, KMRS, and scheduled monthly newspaper columns written by the chancellor for local and regional newspapers.


Verified and coordinated release of information at time of students, staff and faculty deaths.


The office works with the web calendar coordinator to place news headlines on the campus web home page with a link as appropriate to the entire news story on the News Service web site.


The coordinator successfully recommended that a "media assistance" link be added to the external audiences "splash" [home] page, which now links to the University Relations web page.


Major Media Relations efforts

-         Homecoming

-         October Board of Regents visit

-         2nd Annual Symposium on Small Towns June 8-9

-         Central Square Fundraiser

-         Faculty-Staff Recognition 

-         Commencement

-         Student Honors and Awards 

-         Jazz Fest

-         Getty Grant Historic Preservation Conference

-         Naming of Cesar Chavez Avenue

-         AFSCME clerical strike

-         World Touch Cultural Heritage Week

-         Visited regional newspaper editors and broadcast news directors in Fergus Falls, Glenwood, Chokio, Elbow Lake, Hancock, Herman, and KSAX-TV, Alexandria.


D. Non-academic Scheduling/Special Events


Coordinating the use of campus facilities by off-campus and some non-academic groups as well as coordinating arrangements for a variety of other events remains a function of University Relations. The office is responsible for compiling charges from all campus units, billing off-campus groups for use of campus spaces and equipment, and for collection of these bills and for disbursement of monies via the appropriate forms to the appropriate departments when payment is received.





Events included:

-      Youth Health Day

-      Campus tours by elementary classes attending the children's theater performances

        -      Stevens County Ambulance Emergency Training

        -      Rocket Camp (Camp Alpha)

        -     6 weddings/wedding receptions/dinners/dances

-         Morris Evangelical Bible School Closing Event July 23



Major changes recommended/Plans for 2004-05


The office will address two priorities for 2004-2005:


1 – Raise awareness for UMM and develop media relationships by continuing with visits to newspaper editors


2 – Begin process of visiting broadcast news directors to same end as in #1.



Return to 2003-04 Annual Reports List