Campus & Community

Christine Heenan named Harvard VP for Government, Community and Public Affairs

3 min read

>Christine Heenan, former director of community and government relations at Brown University and founder and president of the Clarendon Group, a communications and government relations consulting firm, has been appointed vice president for government, community and public affairs at Harvard University, President Drew Faust announced today (July 15).

Beginning Oct. 1, Heenan, who is also an adjunct assistant professor of public policy at Brown, will oversee Harvard’s relations with all levels of government — federal, state, and local; coordinate a wide range of activities involving the University’s neighboring communities; and manage communications and media relations for the University.

“I am very pleased that Christine Heenan has agreed to serve in this role,” said Faust. “Given Harvard’s active engagement with our neighbors, the increasing scrutiny of universities by policy makers at all levels, and the ever-present need to share with our own community and the broader public a sense of who we are and what we do, this position has never been more important. Christine brings a great deal of relevant experience in government and communications, a longstanding commitment to higher education, and a strong reputation for energetic leadership. I look forward very much to working with her in the years ahead.”

“Harvard’s reach, resources, and leadership create both real challenges and unprecedented opportunities, and I am excited to be joining the University at such an important time in its rich and storied history,” said Heenan.

Heenan also currently serves as a senior adviser at Public Strategies, a national public affairs firm based in Austin, Texas, and previously served as a senior policy analyst on the White House Domestic Policy Council staff.

During her time at Brown, Heenan managed government relations at the federal, state, and local level for both the university and its medical school, led the university’s community relations efforts, and served as a communications adviser to Presidents Vartan Gregorian and E. Gordon Gee. She also created Brown’s first comprehensive directory of community initiatives, helped produce the report issued by the university’s Visiting Committee on Diversity, and managed the review and adoption of the university’s first campus-wide master plan in the city of Providence.

In 2005 she became an adjunct assistant professor of public policy at the A. Alfred Taubman Center for Public Policy and American Institutions at Brown University, where she has taught graduate courses and undergraduate seminars on the role of communications in policy making.

Heenan left Brown in 2000 to found the Clarendon Group Inc., where as president she directly manages the firm’s strategic communications and planning practices and leads business development efforts. At the firm, Heenan has also led numerous projects focused on higher education and health care, working for clients such as Bennington College, Boston College, Dartmouth College, the University of Massachusetts, and the University of Pennsylvania.

Prior to entering politics and communications, Heenan worked as a business strategy consultant focusing on business process analysis, cost analysis, reengineering, and strategic planning.

She has served on a number of boards and commissions and is currently a member of the boards of the Providence Children’s Museum, Dorcas Place Literacy Center, and the Rhode Islanders Sponsoring Education.

Heenan earned her B.S. in journalism at Boston University. She is married to Michael Mello, and has two sons, Alex, 11, and Colin, 9.