Vanderbilt University names new vice chancellor for public affairs

Beth Fortune has been named Vanderbilt University's vice chancellor for public affairs.

Fortune has served in senior leadership roles at Vanderbilt for more than nine years. She began working at the university in September 2000 as associate vice chancellor for public affairs where she served as the principal deputy to the vice chancellor for public affairs and oversaw the university's news and communications functions, including the News Service, Creative Services, Science and Research Communications and The Vanderbilt View monthly publication.

She most recently served as interim vice chancellor for public affairs.

Chancellor Nicholas Zeppos said Fortune's appointment as vice chancellor is very good news for Vanderbilt.

"There were many outstanding candidates for this position, but with Beth's depth of experience combined with her passion for
Vanderbilt, she was the clear choice," Zeppos said. "With Beth's progressive leadership guiding our public affairs initiatives, Vanderbilt and Public Affairs stand poised to continue its trajectory to success with renewed vigor and with a robust energy in advancing our goals and mission."

Before joining Vanderbilt, Fortune served as press secretary to former Governor Don Sundquist, and prior to that, she worked as a political reporter.  From 1995 to 2000, she was a member of the Governor's Cabinet and the first female gubernatorial press secretary in Tennessee history. 

Fortune has been named by The Tennessean and three times by Business Nashville as one of the city's top young leaders.  She has also been recognized by the Nashville Scene as among the most effective and respected public affairs professionals in the city.  CABLE, a networking organization, presented her with the Spirit of Leadership award in 2006 for her outstanding contributions in leading and representing the Middle Tennessee community.

From 1985 to 1992, Fortune was a political reporter for the Nashville Banner, the city's former daily evening newspaper.  She won an Exceptional Merit Media Award from the National Women's Political Caucus for a series on women in Tennessee politics.  As one of former Mayor Bill Purcell's first appointments to the Metropolitan Educational Access Corporation, she was served as chair from 2004 to 2007.

In 2002, she was one of 16 women worldwide selected by the International Women's Forum to participate in its prestigious yearlong fellowship on executive leadership that included programs at Harvard University and the University of Cambridge in England.

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