D.C. strategist Joel Malina named VP for university relations

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John Carberry
Joel Malina
Joel Malina

Joel Malina, CEO and general manager of Wexler & Walker Public Policy Associates in Washington, D.C., has been appointed vice president for university relations, President David J. Skorton announced Jan. 9.

One of Washington’s leading coalition practitioners and a consummate communications strategist with more than 20 years of experience managing integrated lobbying and communications campaigns, Malina will assume his new position March 31. He will report to Skorton and serve on his leadership team.

“Joel brings to Cornell a superb background in government relations and strategic communications at a time when coordinated approaches and strong partnerships locally, across New York state, in Washington and around the world will help define our future,” said Skorton. “After a competitive national search, I look forward to welcoming Joel to the university. I want also to acknowledge and thank Dean Glenn Altschuler for his distinguished service as vice president for university relations, overseeing advocacy and communications at Cornell.”

“I am excited to be joining this prestigious university at such an important time for higher education,” said Malina. “I look forward to working with President Skorton, the senior leadership team at Cornell, and the faculty, staff and students to communicate the university’s unique contributions to New York, the nation and the global community. My wife, Nancy, our two children, Ben and Hallie, and I have found Ithaca to be a welcoming and vibrant community, and we are all excited about making upstate New York our new home.”

“I am thrilled to begin this new year by welcoming Joel to President Skorton’s leadership team,” said Robert S. Harrison, chairman of the Cornell Board of Trustees. “On behalf of the board, I look forward to the energy and vision that Joel will bring to the Division of University Relations. As Cornell prepares to celebrate its sesquicentennial, Joel will lead the effort to leverage Cornell’s lasting and positive impacts in New York state and around the world.”

As the administrative leader with overall responsibility for Cornell’s Government and Community Relations and University Communications, Malina will develop strategies for internal and external communications and coordinate federal, state and community advocacy in alignment with strategic priorities across the university including Weill Cornell Medical College, Cornell NYC Tech and Cornell’s extended network.

Stephen Philip Johnson, vice president for government and community relations, who announced his retirement last March, and Tracy Vosburgh, assistant vice president for university communications, who has been leading the communications division since Tommy Bruce accepted a position at Dartmouth College in October, will assist Malina with his transition.

Malina began his tenure at Wexler & Walker in 1992 under the mentorship of firm founder and presidential adviser Anne Wexler. Over the ensuing 21 years, Malina has managed numerous successful public policy campaigns on behalf of Fortune 100 companies, trade associations and nonprofits. From 1995-98, Malina built and managed The Science Coalition, an organization of major public and private research universities – including Cornell – to promote the public and societal benefits of basic science research. Before joining Wexler & Walker, Malina, a native of Scarsdale, N.Y., was a political aide to U.S. Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY), currently the ranking Democrat on the House Committee on Appropriations.

Malina graduated cum laude from Yale University in 1986 with a B.A. in political science and has frequently lectured undergraduate and graduate students at American University and Georgetown University on coalition building and advocacy campaigns.

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