New director of community relations appointed

Author: Shannon Chapla

Jacquelyn B. Rucker, most recently corporate diversity manager for Memorial Health System, Inc., has been appointed director of community relations at the University of Notre Dame, effective April 14. She succeeds James Roemer who retired last year.p. “Jackie and the office of community relations will be the face of a new and broader level of community involvement by Notre Dame,” said Roberto Gutierrez, vice president for public affairs and communication. “She has grown up in South Bend, gone to school here and made a life for her family here. She truly understands the needs of South Bend families. Her investment in the community coupled with her understanding of Notre Dame will result in many exciting new initiatives for the area.”p. The University’s commitment to the area has been typified by such recent innovations as the Robinson Community Learning Center. “We see that seamless University-community enterprise as a model for partnerships that will address a broad spectrum of issues, from the economic and social well-being of nearby neighborhoods to the viability of the area as a whole,” Gutierrez said.p. In her new role, Rucker will serve as the primary administrative link between Notre Dame and the local community, providing proactive, coordinated activities in support of the University’s strategic plan, as well as the social and economic growth and well being of the area. She will serve as a liason between local and regional groups and coordinate University involvement in the development of neighborhoods that surround the campus.p. The community relations office initially will be located in the Eck Visitor’s Center. Rucker is expected to expand the scope and meaning of the office by moving it into its first off-campus site. Plans for relocation are underway.p. “Communities are simply groups of diverse people,” Rucker said. “They are formed by individuals who go to work and school, attend churches, synagogues and mosques, own businesses and homes, or perhaps need a place to live. They are our neighbors. Notre Dame strives to be a good neighbor to the people of Michiana, so I see my role as that of a friend.”p. A 1983 graduate of Notre Dame with a bachelor’s degree in American studies, Rucker returned to the University in 1984 to serve as a financial aid administrator and later an admissions counselor. She has almost 20 years of experience in the education, manufacturing and health care industries. As corporate diversity manager for Memorial, Rucker launched numerous initiatives, including diversity training for employees, policies to promote a diverse workforce, and community, national and regional relationships to foster an image of diversity, along with a system to measure the effectiveness of her efforts.p. Rucker has worked as a personnel administrator at Allied Signal in South Bend and a marketing coordinator for New Energy Company of Indiana. She also is co-owner of Integrity Commercial Cleaning Services.p. Rucker is active with the Notre Dame Alumni Association and is a board member of the Black Alumni of Notre Dame. She serves as a board member of CONNECTthe Chamber of Commerce’s Coalition for Educational Successand the BRAVO Placement Team for the Center for the Homeless in South Bend. She also is a founding board member and secretary of the South Bend chapter of the National Association of Health Service Executives (NAHSE).p. Rucker and her husband, Christopher, are the parents of two children, Christopher and Jillian.p.

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