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Brent Colburn will succeed Robert Durkee ’69 as the University’s next vice president for communications and public affairs on Feb. 1. Colburn previously served as the senior communications and public affairs officials for multiple Cabinet-level federal agencies and is currently the vice president for communications at the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative.

As the University’s vice president for communications and public affairs, Colburn will serve as a spokesperson for the University, supervise the University’s presentation of its objectives and activities to the public, and manage the offices of communications, public state affairs, government affairs in Washington, D.C., and community and regional affairs.  

Colburn received his bachelor’s degree in government and master’s degree in public policy from the College of William & Mary, and he served as a fellow in residence at the Harvard Institute of Politics. After finishing his education, Colburn worked as the assistant to the Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs at the U.S. Department of Defense, chief of staff for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, national communications director of the 2012 Obama for America campaign, assistant secretary for public affairs for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and director of external affairs for the Federal Emergency Management Agency.  He now serves as the primary communications strategist, manager, and spokesperson for the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, a philanthropic organization founded by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and pediatrician and educator Dr. Priscilla Chan that aims to promote equal opportunity.

On June 12, Durkee announced in a statement that when he took the job of Vice President and Secretary thirteen years ago it was with the understanding that he would eventually be able to "scale back to holding only one job."

According to Assistant Vice President for Communications Daniel Day, the University conducted a nationwide search for the new vice president, the details of which are confidential.

Colburn looks forward to making a “positive contribution” to the University’s legacy, according to the University statement.

“He combines first-rate experience in government and communications with a deep commitment to the mission of this University,” said President Eisgruber. 

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