Skip to Navigation
University of Pittsburgh
Print This Page Print this pages

September 11, 1997

Executive director for Public Affairs is hired

Pitt engineering alum nus Mitchell Kozikowski, head of the public relations consulting firm Kozikowski & Co. and an affiliate of the public relations firm The Softness Group, both based in New York City, has been named Pitt's executive director of Public Affairs. Kozikowski's appointment brings to an end a nearly year-long search by the University to fill the position. He will assume his post on Sept. 22.

Chancellor Mark Nordenberg was in New York and could not be reached for comment on Kozikowski's appointment or the extent of his duties. Kozikowski told the University Times that the Office of Communications and the Department of University Relations will report to him.

"I don't necessarily know if we're going to grow in staff, but I think in terms of the scope of the job, Public Affairs may encompass more than just those two in times to come," Kozikowski said. "We have to look at whether or not we're properly serving all of the constituencies we have to deal with." Kozikowski added that he has not yet developed any specific plans for Public Affairs. "It just happened too fast," he said.

Rather, Kozikowski feels it is more important that he understand the chancellor's view of the University and find a way to present it to the public and to Pitt's various constituencies. "While we still have to work out priorities," Kozikowski said, "it's pretty clear that in a broad sense he [Nordenberg] wants this University to become recognized for its quality of product and services." Kozikowski also said that the chancellor wants Pitt to be an attractive place to learn and work, and for the University to have good relationships with the community, the legislature, the alumni, faculty, students and staff.

"We have to, No. 1, make sure that we're being honest and complete in the way we communicate what we do," Kozikowski said. "Secondly, we have to develop good relationships with all our constituents. "And that's going to have to shake out pretty quickly," he added, "because I don't see that as a 10-year plan. I see it as something that is already a work in progress, one that I intend to grab hold of and develop hard plans that Mark and the other leadership of the University will approve quickly." Kozikowski said he decided to leave New York and join the University staff because he had done everything he could do with public relations agencies and was looking for a new challenge. He also said he was moved to take the job because of his affection for Pitt (He is a 1957 graduate of the School of Engineering) and because of Nordenberg, whose vision and sense of mission he admires. "He really, really believes that Pitt is truly great," Kozikowski said. "I think he has a passion for the school that I have not seen in any of the past chancellors." In a Sept. 10 letter to the Council of Deans announcing the appointment, Nordenberg said the prolonged search to fill the position was due to several factors, chief among them "the importance that I attach to the communications function and my insistence that the person appointed be positioned to contribute something truly special to our collective cause." Nordenberg added: "I feel quite confident that the end result was well worth the wait." Assistant Vice Chancellor for University Relations Mary Ann Aug also spoke highly of Kozikowski, whom she met when he was a member of Pitt's Communications Board of Visitors during the 1980s. The board advised the University on its communications plan. As head of University Relations, Aug will report to Kozikowski.

Aug called Kozikowski "really a major figure, a major name in public relations" and said it was "quite a coup" for Pitt to get him. "It should be an exciting new era for communications and University relations here at Pitt," she added.

Following his graduation from the School of Engineering, Kozikowski began his public relations career with the Westinghouse Corporation in September 1957, specializing in nuclear and technology areas.

In 1963, Kozikowski left Westinghouse to become general manager of Lando Advertising in Pittsburgh, where he started the agency's 12-person public relations division. The company was later acquired by Burson Marstellar. From Lando, Kozikowski moved on in 1969 to become general manager of Muller Jordan Herrick Public Relations in New York City. During his career, Kozikowski also has served as chief executive officer for the public relations firms of Creamer Dickson Basford, Inc., 1976 – 1988; The Rowland Company U.S. (a unit of Saatchi & Saatchi), 1988 – 1990, and Earl Palmer Brown Public Relations 1991 – 1993.

Since 1993, Kozikowski has operated Kozikowski & Co. as a consultant to corporations and agencies on integrated marketing, database marketing and organizational development issues.

In his letter to the deans, Nordenberg noted: "Over the course of his career, Mitch has created public relations support programs for a wide range of public and private organizations, including numerous Fortune 500 companies." Clients for whom Kozikowski has worked include: Canon USA, Hershey Foods, Sandoz Pharmaceutical, Hercules Chemical, McDonald's, Coors Brewing, Cores States Financial and Ocean Spray.

Among the professional honors that Kozikowski has received are three Silver Anvil Awards from the Public Relations Society of America. The Silver Anvil is the organization's highest recognition for excellence in public relations.

A long-time supporter of the University, Kozikowski has served as director of the Pitt Alumni Association and as chair of the Chancellor's Circle. His contributions to the School of Engineering were recognized in 1988 when the Mitchell Kozikowski Lecture Hall was dedicated in Benedum Hall.

According to Nordenberg, Kozikowski's association with Pitt "almost certainly was a positive factor in my successful efforts to recruit him." In his letter to the deans, Nordenberg wrote that he was looking for someone to fill the executive director of Public Affairs position who could make a unique contribution to the University's overall communications efforts. Kozikowski's areas of specialty include advanced marketing concepts, corporate communications and public policy issues management.

Nordenberg said he wanted someone for the post who could "bring to bear all of the tools and techniques" of public relations to help with ongoing efforts to create a positive image for the University, "making certain, in particular, that our reputation keeps pace with our constantly improving state of quality.

"Mitch has the experience, abilities and connections to spearhead that effort," the chancellor concluded. "He also is creative, energetic and extremely personable. I know that I am going to enjoy working with him."

-Mike Sajna

Filed under: Feature,Volume 30 Issue 2

Leave a Reply