Robert P. Mitchell G’75
Bob Mitchell G’75 believes few things are as valuable as a good education, and that Syracuse University provided an amazing foundation for what is now his 37-year career in communications.
“A degree from SU is an amazing calling card, and the first couple of jobs I had were due to SU connections,” Mitchell says. “In addition to the high quality education, SU has provided an incredible social network. Over the years, I’ve met many alumni with whom I’ve maintained strong friendships. It’s like belonging to a very exclusive private club.”
Since receiving a master’s degree in journalism from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, Mitchell has enjoyed a storied career in various director roles focused on communications, public affairs, media relations, and marketing. The City of Philadelphia Mayor’s Office, NIKE, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, and Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts, are just a handful of places where Mitchell held high-level communications positions over the years.
For the past decade Mitchell has served as a director of communications at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and his present role is Assistant Dean for Diversity Relations and Communications. Mitchell’s extensive higher education background, which includes several other universities, made him even more grateful for his SU education, and Newhouse in particular.
“Newhouse has produced some of the finest journalists in the country. There are only a handful of schools that have the kind of influence on the industry that Newhouse does, and I’m very proud of that fact,” Mitchell says. “I’m also very pleased with the direction in which Dean Branham is taking the school. She’s a visionary who’s making a great school even better.”
As a Boston Regional Council member, vice president of the Syracuse University Alumni Association Board, and supporter of the Newhouse School, Mitchell gives back to SU for a variety of reasons. “I strongly believe in the higher education mission. I received financial support when I was in school and think it’s important to give back,” he says. “Tuition covers only a fraction of the total cost of educating a college student, and I give because I’m so inspired by many of the talented students I’ve met recently at SU.”
Another point of pride for Mitchell is SU’s focus on educating a diverse student body. “What SU does especially well is reach out to and recruit students of color and those who are economically disadvantaged,” he says. “However, with that comes a huge responsibility. Many of these students face unique challenges, and the University must work with prospective and current students to get past those challenges.”
Reflecting on all his SU experiences, Mitchell finds his involvement on the SUAA Board most rewarding. He’s thoroughly enjoyed working with this dedicated and enthusiastic group of alumni. Now, through his role on the Boston Regional Council, Mitchell is excited to see SU targeting Boston as a region of opportunity.
“We Bostonians who are SU alumni are very lucky. The University is pumping a lot of its resources into our area, which means that we, as alumni, reap the great benefits,” he says. “The University looks at Boston as one of the prime regions for special programs and events, and it relies on Bostonians for our opinions and ideas. Boston is a model for the rest of the country.”