Published October 25, 2017
Nancy E. Paton, vice president for communications, has been named the Higher Education Marketer of the Year by the American Marketing Association (AMA). Paton will receive the award during the 2017 Symposium for the Marketing of Higher Education Nov. 12-15 in Atlanta.
The AMA award honors extraordinary leadership and achievement in the field of higher education marketing. Individual nominees were selected based on a range of criteria, including vision, leadership, strategy and results. Recent recipients include marketing leaders from Michigan State University, Florida State and Purdue.
“Being chosen by my peers to receive this prestigious national award after being nominated by my university colleagues is a capstone moment in my career. While immensely gratifying personally, it is also a tribute to UB, which values the impact of marketing and communications as a senior leadership function vital to advancing its vision,” Paton said.
“Conferring of this award suggests that the principles upon which I base my relationships with my colleagues, my peers and the people for whom I work — the students, faculty, staff and administration of the university — are valued and serve as the foundation to achieve results,” she added.
Paton leads UB’s Office of University Communications. As the university’s chief public relations and marketing officer, she is responsible for advancing the university’s reputation as a leader among the nation’s premier higher education institutions.
“This is not only a great personal honor for Nancy, it is also a significant recognition for the university and a testament to the excellence of UB’s communications strategy under her leadership,” said President Satish K. Tripathi.
This senior leadership position is responsible for overall university branding, marketing communications, internal communications, issues management and media relations strategy. Paton led development and implementation of the university’s new brand and identity strategy, which launched in 2016. Aimed at strengthening UB’s reputation and visibility around the world, it is the most comprehensive branding strategy in the university’s 176-year history.
In addition, Paton developed UB’s first comprehensive university marketing and communications strategic plan through a deliberative process of inclusion. This resulted in widespread advocacy and support from senior leadership and embedding of that strategy throughout all decanal and administrative unit marketing and communications efforts.
“Nancy’s tremendous accomplishments speak for themselves, but what is truly remarkable is how she has brought together so many people — faculty, staff, students, alumni and other stakeholders from across the university and beyond — working toward the common goal of telling UB’s story,” said Jacqueline Ghosen, assistant dean and director of communications for the School of Management, who nominated Paton for the award.
Paton also convened a senior communications council of 35 high-level communicators from 12 schools and 23 departments at UB to lead efforts within their units, resulting in greater collaboration, a more unified voice and a significant improvement in the quality of university communications. She strengthened the university’s issues and crisis management, increased growth and engagement in UB’s social media channels, and elevated the university’s presence in national and international media.
Also under Paton’s leadership, the Office of University Communications has received numerous regional and national awards, including a CASE gold award for the university’s annual report and a bronze anvil awarded by the Public Relations Society of America for the university’s AtBuffalo alumni magazine.
A nationally recognized strategist, Paton has more than 30 years of communications experience. She has presented on marketing and communications strategies at national higher education conferences and is a published author and lecturer, previously teaching graduate-level public relations courses in the School of Journalism and Mass Communications at Kent State University.
Paton holds a master’s degree in management from Purdue University and a bachelor’s degree in mass media and communications from the University of Akron.