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University of Maine System Announces Changes to Communications Team

Peggy Leonard transferring to Human Resources leadership team to fill Statewide Internal Communications Manager Position; Dan Demeritt to replace Leonard as Executive Director of Public Affairs

BANGOR, MAINE – The University of Maine System (UMS) is making changes to its human resources and public relations teams to better inform and engage system staff, faculty, students, stakeholders and concerned Maine citizens about the transformative work being done across the System to guarantee a stronger and sustainable system of higher education in Maine.

Peggy Leonard, who has held various UMS public relations roles over the last nine years, is transitioning into a new role in the System. Starting on June 16, 2014, Leonard will join the Human Resource Department’s leadership team as a statewide Internal Communications Manager.

“The Human Resource Department is undergoing a change initiative that includes a new focus on improving communications with the System’s more than 5,000 employees,” said University of Maine System Chancellor James Page. “Peggy’s public relations and employee communication experience will be critical as we work to improve our communications with System employees on the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.”

Dan Demeritt replaces Leonard in the University of Maine System Office as the Executive Director of Public Affairs. Demeritt will work closely with the chancellor and senior university leadership to develop and implement a comprehensive communications program for the University of Maine System. He assumes the role on June 16, 2014.

For the past three years Demeritt has been a political initiative and public affairs consultant, helping organizations achieve their communication and electoral objectives. Prior to launching his own firm Demeritt was the Press Secretary for the LePage for Governor Campaign and the Communications Director for Governor Paul LePage. Demeritt has also directed communication in the House Republican Office at the Maine Legislature and served on U.S. Senator Susan Collins’ staff in both Maine and in Washington. He holds an MBA from the University of Southern Maine.

“The University of Maine System is a vital public asset and every Maine resident has a stake in the System’s future,” offered Chancellor Page. “Our leadership team is committed to transparently framing our challenges and engaging our stakeholders as we work together to position public higher education in Maine for a stronger, sustainable future. Dan is a respected communications professional and we look forward to the energy and ideas he will bring to our team.”

Established in 1968, the University of Maine System is the state’s largest educational enterprise. It has an annual enrollment of nearly 40,000 students and serves over 500,000 individuals annually through educational and cultural offerings. Two-thirds of its alumni—approximately 120,000 people—live in Maine. The University of Maine System features seven universities—some with multiple campuses—located across the state, as well as eight University College outreach centers, a law school, and an additional 31 course sites. For more information, visit www.maine.edu.