Notre Dame Vice President Paul J. Browne to retire in June

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Paul J. Browne

Paul J. Browne

Paul J. Browne, vice president for public affairs and communications at the University of Notre Dame, will retire June 30, the University’s president, Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., announced today.

“In his nearly eight years at Notre Dame, Paul has been a calm, thoughtful presence at the center of storms that sometimes envelop a university,” Father Jenkins said. “He has been an invaluable partner to me in crafting and communicating messages for the University.”

Browne has led a 75-member division in advancing the University’s academic reputation, faculty expertise, Catholic character and global presence in national and international media, and its local, state and federal government relations.

Under his guidance, there has been a ten-fold increase in the placement of faculty experts in leading media outlets, raising the national and global profile of the University. Browne arranged for the first presentation by a Notre Dame faculty member to the Religion News Association’s annual conference, and he organized a gathering of leading journalists in Rome after a Vatican/Notre Dame-sponsored conference on climate change. He has been integrally involved in presentations of the Notre Dame Award in Brazil, Mexico and Ukraine, and he convened media roundtables and other events for administration officials and faculty members in China, Colombia, London, Dublin and elsewhere around the world.

In addition to his communications responsibilities, Browne has directed the public affairs activities of the University locally, in Indiana and with the White House, Congress and other federal government entities.

“Paul came to Notre Dame with a love for the University instilled by his immigrant parents,” Father Jenkins said. “After eight years of significant contributions, he leaves with the respect, gratitude and affection of me and so many more of his Notre Dame colleagues.”

Browne was appointed to his position in July 2013 after previously serving as deputy commissioner for public information for the New York City Police Department, leading the communications strategies and serving as spokesman for the 50,000-member agency.

He previously served as press secretary and chief of staff for the late U.S. Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan — the University’s 1992 Laetare Medalist — and in similar posts at the U.S. Treasury Department, the New York State Court of Appeals and the New York State Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities, and also as vice president for advancement at his alma mater, Marist College.

Browne also served as deputy director of the International Police Monitors in Haiti, with a United Nations mandate to end human rights abuses there and to establish an interim police force during the U.S.-led “Operation Uphold Democracy” in 1994-95. For his Haiti service, Browne was awarded the Commanders Award for Public Service.

Before entering government service, Browne was a newspaper reporter, first for the Watertown Daily Times in upstate New York and later as Albany bureau chief for the New York Daily News and the New York Law Journal. He also served for many years in New York’s state capital as a stringer for the New York Times. His freelance reporting has been published in the Washington Post and other publications. He is a former member of the board of the American Irish Historical Society and has been published in its journal, The Recorder.

A native of the Bronx and a graduate of Mount Saint Michael Academy there, Browne earned a bachelor’s degree in American studies from Marist College and a master’s degree from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. As an undergraduate, he studied for a year in Bogota, Colombia, and upon graduation served as a lay volunteer teacher at the Marist Brothers High School in Pago Pago, American Samoa. He was married to the former Sarah Purcell at The Abbey in Galway City, Ireland. The Brownes have an adult daughter, Lacey.

Notre Dame’s public affairs and communications division encompasses the following departments and units: marketing communications, multimedia services, print services, web services, media relations, internal communications, strategic content, strategic communications planning, issues management, Notre Dame Magazine, local and state government relations, federal government relations, community engagement and the Robinson Community Learning Center.

The University has initiated a national search for Browne’s successor.