J. Roberto Gutierrez, a television executive from San Antonio, today was elected vice president for public affairs and communication at the University of Notre Dame by its Board of Trustees. The appointment is effective Dec. 2.
Gutierrez, who received an honorary doctorate from the University in 1999, co-founded the Hispanic Telecommunications Network (HTN) in 1982. The organization produces the weekly television series, Nuestra Familia, the only national Catholic evangelization series televised for the nation’s Latino community. The program is funded in part by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Communications Campaign.
“Roberto’s great accomplishments as a communicator and his abundant entrepreneurial skills will be of great value to the University in this important position that oversees our relationship with the media, government and the general public through many venues,” Rev. Edward A. Malloy, C.S.C., Notre Dame’s president, said in announcing the board action.p. “I am honored to share in the tradition of service and education that Notre Dame represents for the world,” Gutierrez said. “I will work to further the goals of the University, help implement its strategic plan and vision, and seek new ways to articulate that vision to emerging audiences in this country and abroad.”p. He added, “Since childhood, growing up in the Latino neighborhoods of San Antonio, those of us fortunate to have attended Catholic schools, could only dream that we would one day become part of the storied legend that is Notre Dame.” He said he felt “uniquely called by God to this special vocation as vice president for public affairs and communication.”p. The public affairs and communication division of the University encompasses the offices of news and information, marketing communications, University communications design, photographic and television production, Notre Dame Magazine, community relations and governmental relations. The post became vacant earlier this year when Lou Nanni was appointed vice president for University relations.p. Gutierrez has been active in Catholic organizations including the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Communications Committee; the Hispanic Catholic Communications Conference; CTG, the Catholic advocacy group to the Faith&Values Channel; the Association of Catholic Television and Radio Syndicators; and the Catholic Academy of Communication Arts Professionals (formerly UNDA-USA).p. A graduate of St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, Gutierrez pursued graduate studies at the Oblate School of Theology. He began his career as promotions director for the El Visitante Dominical Newspaper of the Oblate Missions in San Antonio. After co-founding HTN, he served in a number of positions until becoming president and CEO in 1985. He was instrumental in negotiating agreements between HTN and UNIVISION, Galavision, PBS and the Hallmark Channel. He has made frequent television appearances and is an experienced public speaker.p. In talking about his new career, Gutierrez said, “For 20 years, I have worked exclusively in the not-for-profit sector in support of and for the communication of gospel values through television, radio and the Internet. The invitation to join Notre Dame is a continuation of that journey, bringing with me all that I have learned about telling our human story, to a campus that already has that special story-telling character as its hallmark.”p. He continued, “Through an active engagement of each department, I look forward to participating in the continuing conversation of the University, communicating that message to a world-campus so desperately in need of good news. It is, after all, what I believe Notre Dame is about ? an intellectual community helping to weave the contemporary events of our human drama with the calling of the Spirit to create a just and loving world.”p. Gutierrez and his wife, Rosie, have two children, Robert and Cristina, who are both currently enrolled as undergraduates at Notre Dame.p.