LAWRENCE -- Janet Murguia, executive vice chancellor for university relations at the University of Kansas, has been named executive director and chief operating officer of the National Council of La Raza (NCLR), effective in March.
NCLR is headquartered in Washington, D.C. Founded in 1968, it is the nation's largest public policy advocacy group for Hispanic Americans, with more than 307 affiliates in 40 states, including Kansas and Missouri, and in Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia. In her new position, Murguia will report to Raul Yzaguirre, president and chief executive officer.
Murguia has been a member of NCLR Board of Directors since 2002, when she was selected by Hispanic Business magazine for its Top 100 list of the most influential Hispanics in the nation. In June 2003, she was selected by Hispanic magazine for its annual list of 100 Top Latinas.
"Janet Murguia has done an outstanding job during her two and a half years at KU," said Chancellor Robert Hemenway. "She has worked tirelessly to promote this university and the cause of public higher education throughout Kansas. We are very sorry to see her go, but at the same time we are extremely proud to see a KU graduate assume a major leadership position at a nationally prominent organization such as NCLR."
Murguia, who worked in Washington for 14 years before coming to KU in 2001, said it saddened her to leave her alma mater. However, she views the NCLR position as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to serve the nation's growing Hispanic American community. The Hispanic population has grown faster than the overall U.S. population since 1990 and is now the nation's largest minority group.
"The University of Kansas has had a powerful impact on my life," said Murguia, "and I have enjoyed being able to give something back to KU. Under Chancellor Hemenway's leadership, and with an extraordinary complement of talented faculty and staff, KU's future as one of the nation's leading public research and teaching universities is very bright."
Hemenway said that Kevin Boatright, associate executive vice chancellor for university relations, would serve as interim executive vice chancellor, effective Feb. 1. A national search will begin soon to find a permanent successor for Murguia.
Hemenway created the executive vice chancellor position in 2001 as the senior administrator responsible for the university's governmental relations,public relations, trademark licensing, Kansas Public Radio, the Kansas Audio-Reader Network, and other outreach and visitor service efforts for all KU campuses.
"The units within University Relations have come together very effectively under Janet's leadership," Hemenway said. "She and her staff have enhanced the university's message that a national public research and teaching university is vital to the future of Kansas and the region."
Murguia's accomplishments at KU include:
Leading KU's first-ever university-wide marketing communications planning effort, involving administrators and staff members across the four KU campuses;
Managing governmental relations efforts that helped convince the Kansas Legislature and governor to invest in KU research as an economic asset, while limiting funding cuts;
Supporting KU's diversity recruitment and retention efforts, which have seen record-breaking numbers for two consecutive years;
Forming the University Relations division at KU from previously separate groups, and establishing communication bridges with KU Athletics Corporation, KU Endowment Association and the KU Alumni Association;
Inaugurating KU's Open House, now an annual event, and establishing a central university steering committee to coordinate other major special events, such as Homecoming Week, Band Day, and Parents/Family Weekend;Ê
Assisting with the planning and promotion of the three-day dedication of the Robert J. Dole Institute of Politics;
Overseeing the dedication of a new $2.2 million home for Kansas Public Radio and the extension of its signal into the Emporia and Manhattan areas; and
Furthering the chancellor's key initiatives, including KU First: Invest in Excellence, the Greater Kansas City life sciences initiative, and the push for enhanced national recognition.
Murguia grew up in the Argentine community of Kansas City, Kansas. She received bachelor's degrees in journalism and Spanish in 1982, as well as a law degree in 1985, all from KU. She started her career as legislative counsel to former Kansas Congressman Jim Slattery. She worked at the White House from 1994 to 2000, eventually serving as deputy assistant to the president and deputy director of legislative affairs. During the 2000 election, she was deputy campaign manager and director of constituency outreach for the Gore/Lieberman presidential campaign.
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