Arquette chosen for new St. Ambrose communications VP post 

Toby Arquette, a veteran educator, has been selected as St. Ambrose University’s first vice president of communications. He will be tasked with keeping the Davenport institution at the forefront of higher education marketing in a digital marketplace. 

The dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Business at Aurora (Illinois) University since 2016, Mr. Arquette will assume the new position on St. Ambrose President Amy Novak’s cabinet Tuesday, July 5. He was selected following a national search. He will be responsible for directing the Communications and Marketing Office staff, managing media outreach, and serving as St. Ambrose’s chief spokesman.

After she assumed SAU’s presidency nearly a year ago, Ms. Novak identified the need for integrating communications and marketing work into the university’s top leadership. “This work is so integral to every aspect of university business, and impacts every corner of our campus and academic communities,” she said in a news release.

“Our Communications and Marketing Office has worked extremely hard to meet the needs of our three colleges and 60-plus graduate and undergraduate degree programs, as well as our many essential student and alumni service departments, including the Office of the President,” Ms. Novak added. “What is needed as we assess the future is a leader who can align those many needs with a strategic vision and focus, while also stepping back and thinking globally about the work ahead and creating a campus-wide understanding of brand and marketing strategy.”

As a past assistant professor of communication at DePaul University and a visiting lecturer at Loyola University, both in Chicago, Mr. Arquette said returning to Catholic higher education is an appealing aspect of his new job. 

“St. Ambrose’s laser focus on students and their aspirations is very appealing to me; it is the very reason I entered higher education,” he said in the release. “I am especially attracted to the opportunity to advance the university’s social justice mission, particularly as it relates to cultivating an inclusive community. As a first generation college student, I know first-hand the transformative power of a college education.”

He received a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics from Wayne State University in Detroit, a Master of Arts in communications from Baylor University in Waco, Texas, and a Doctor of Philosophy in Communication from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. He first was hired as an assistant professor of communication at Aurora University in 2007 and promoted to tenured associate professor a year later. He received the Trumbo Award for Teaching Excellence at Aurora in 2016 and continued to teach after becoming dean of the Dunham School of Business and Public Policy that year.

As dean, Mr. Arquette managed the school’s marketing and communications efforts, leveraging digital opportunities to exceed revenue and enrollment targets each year.

“We need to meet our students where they are,” he added. “If our prospective students are on digital and social media, understanding how to communicate in that space is critical to reaching our audience.” 


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