Sherry Knight has been appointed interim associate vice president of communications at Central Michigan University, University President George Ross announced Tuesday.
Knight, a former editor at Central Michigan Life, has led her Saline-based executive communications firm, Knight Writers, since 1996. She will be on campus Tuesday through Friday to meet with administrators and faculty.
“I need to get a good idea of what needs to improve,” Knight told CM Life Tuesday. “I’m pretty aggressive. We’ll be moving swiftly, with lots of openness and integrity. My entire communications process is through openness and integrity.”
Knight, 48, said she and Ross had been in preliminary conversation since late April about “helping to expand the university’s communications efforts.” Renee Walker resigned from her job as associate vice president of university communications Friday. A 1986 CMU graduate, Knight credits her journalism background and previous role at CM Life for her relationship with university officials. She served as editor of CM Life in 1985-86 and went on to report for the Jackson Citizen Patriot and (Annapolis, Md.) Capital Gazette.
“He was certainly aware of it,” Knight said of Ross’ knowledge of her background. “To those who have known me to date, they can’t miss the fact that I’m a journalism alum and I wear that very proudly.”
Knight said she’s done a lot of research on CMU in the last couple of weeks, but considers herself familiar with the impending College of Medicine. McClaren-Central Michigan has been a client of her communications firm for about two years now, Knight said.
Knight is under contract for six months, paying $1,500 per day of work in Mount Pleasant. She may not be at CMU every day of the week, but will do work from her Saline office as needed, she said.
In a statement released Tuesday afternoon, university officials said Knight will be responsible for building strong relationships, both internally and externally, and “building awareness and support of the university through a full spectrum of communications vehicles and opportunities.”
“CMU needs to be top of the mind across the state among students, parents and alumni,” Knight said. “We need to have strong consistent communications to achieve it.”