Universities Announce the Appointments of Seven Women to Administrative Positions

Paula Polglase has been promoted to director of the Office of Alumni Relations at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia. She will also serve as the executive director of the JMU Alumni Association. She was the associate director of strategic gifts and liaison to the College of Visual and Performing Arts.

Polglase holds a bachelor’s degree in communications and a master’s degree in college student personnel administration from James Madison University.

Carol Keese was appointed vice president for university communications and chief marketing officer at the University of Oregon. She was associate vice president for marketing and brand strategy at the University of Virginia. Earlier, she was vice president of marketing for Children’s National Health System.

Keese is a graduate of the University of Virginia. She holds an MBA from the University of Phoenix.

Martha Thomson will serve as Indiana State University’s new director of university communication. Before joining Indiana State, Thomson spent 13 years at Vincennes University in Indiana, where she most recently served as the director of marketing and communications for workforce development and community services.

Thomson is a graduate of Franklin College in Indiana. She earned a master’s degree in communication from Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana.

Ayanna McConnell has been named the twelfth president and CEO of the Alumni Association of the University of Michigan. She has served as acting president since March. Previously, McConnell served as the association’s vice president for university relations.

A Detroit native, McConnell attended the University of Michigan before completing her bachelor’s degree in business administration from Cleary University in Howell, Michigan. She holds a master’s degree in higher education and student affairs from Eastern Michigan University.

Montana State University announced it has chosen Alison Harmon to be its new vice president for research and economic development. Dr. Harmon has been with the university since 2004 and served as dean of the College of Education, Health and Human Development from 2015 to 2022 before being named interim vice president for research and economic development.

Dr. Harmon holds a bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Michigan. She earned a master’s degree in forest resources and a doctorate in nutrition, both from Pennsylvania State University.

Deborah Alston was appointed assistant vice president of stewardship at Virginia Union University. She has been serving as senior director for alumni relations and advancement services. Prior to this, she held several significant positions within the Division of Institutional Advancement, including director of prospect research and gifts management, director of the annual fund, and interim director of alumni affairs.

Alston holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Virginia State University.

Jackie Micheletto is the new assistant vice chancellor for financial affairs in the Division of Student Affairs at the University of Arkansas. Most recently she was the associate director for financial affairs for the College of Education and Health Professions at the university.

Micheletto was born and raised in Arkansas. She holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration and a master’s degree in operations management from the University of Arkansas.

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