Jan Botz to step down as vice president; OPAC and University Relations to consolidate

by Dennis Brown

Janet M. Botz

Janet M. Botz has announced she will be leaving her position as vice president for the Office of Public Affairs and Communications (OPAC) at the University of Notre Dame at the end of July as the office is consolidated with University Relations.

Botz joined Notre Dame in November 2008 and has led a number of important initiatives. Under her leadership, the University refocused its efforts on government and community relations with increased emphasis on local, state and federal government relations as well as paying more attention to improving community relationships. She is actively involved herself as a member of the executive committee and board of the St. Joseph County Chamber of Commerce and also as a board member of WNIT Public Television, as well as a supporter of many other local organizations.

Botz led development of a comprehensive positioning and branding program that will be launched this summer, designed to enhance Notre Dame’s reputation across multiple audiences. Issue management has been another area of emphasis over the past several years, both in creating a detailed communications process and plan and in managing a number of critical issues. Internal communications also have been enhanced over the last two years and new tools recently have been launched to continue to improve communications with faculty and staff. Botz also has worked with the OPAC team of nearly 60 staff members to integrate the various departments, create a new vision and mission as well as a long-term strategic plan, the latter supporting one of the University’s five major goals.

“We will miss Jan as a colleague, and we are grateful for her hard work, dedication and significant accomplishments at Notre Dame,” said Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., Notre Dame’s president. “Her work will have a lasting impact on the University. We wish her the very best in all future endeavors.”

Father Jenkins has decided to combine the Office of Public Affairs and Communications with University Relations, under the direction of Louis M. Nanni, effective Aug. 1. Nanni will continue to serve as the vice president for University Relations with combined oversight of public affairs and communications, development, special events, advisory councils and the Notre Dame Alumni Association.

A 1984 Notre Dame graduate, Nanni was extremely successful as the first executive director of the Center for the Homeless from 1991 to 1999, creating an innovative service model for homeless families and individuals to lead them to self-sufficiency. He has served in administrative capacities at Notre Dame for the past 12 years – initially in the President’s Office, then from 2001 to 2002 as the first vice president of the Office of Public Affairs and Communications, and for the past nine years in his current position. Under his leadership, the University is about to complete one of the most successful capital campaigns in the history of higher education.

“In all the capacities in which he has served, Lou has been involved in shaping Notre Dame’s messaging and helping to tell our story to various constituencies,” Father Jenkins said. “I believe this change will enable us to take advantage of opportunities for integration and greater coordination, and I have great confidence in Lou’s ability to lead this team.”