Della Contrada named VP for University Communications

Release Date: August 22, 2019

Portrait of John Della Contrada.
“John’s leadership in an interim capacity has continued to position UB very strongly in terms of our university’s communications, branding and marketing strategies. ”
Satish K. Tripathi, president
University at Buffalo

John Della Contrada, an experienced communicator who has helped elevate the University at Buffalo’s reputation around the world, has been appointed vice president for university communications, President Satish K. Tripathi announced today.

Della Contrada’s appointment takes effect Aug. 26, which is the first day of the new academic year. He had been serving in this position in an interim capacity since September 2018.

Prior to that, Della Contrada was UB’s associate vice president for media relations and stakeholder communications, where he excelled in positioning the strategic branding and messaging for UB in local, national and international media outlets across many communications platforms.

He has worked closely with university administrators, researchers, faculty and staff in planning, implementing and promoting the UB story, thereby significantly expanding UB’s reputation and relationships within the many communities UB serves.

As vice president, Della Contrada will lead UB’s Division of University Communications, responsible for advancing the university’s reputation as a leader among the nation’s premier public higher education institutions.

As the university’s chief public relations and marketing officer, he will oversee overall university branding, internal communications, social media, issues management, crisis communications and media relations strategy, working closely with UB’s senior leadership and professional communicators across the university.

“A member of the UB family since 1996, John brings more than 30 years of experience in higher education communications. He has been a leader within University Communications, serving as a mentor to many of our talented professional communications staff, and has held leadership roles within professional communications organizations in the Western New York community and beyond,” Tripathi said.

“John’s leadership in an interim capacity has continued to position UB very strongly in terms of our university’s communications, branding and marketing strategies,” Tripathi added. “I look forward to his continued leadership and contributions as our university works to build even further on this success.”

Through his professionalism and integrity during his more than two decades of service at UB, Della Contrada also helped to cultivate UB’s positive and growing reputation within the community and its relationship with local, regional, national and global news media, as well as student-led media.

Della Contrada has received numerous awards, including the 2015 SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Professional Service.

“I would like to thank President Tripathi and the members of his cabinet for their support and confidence in me,” Della Contrada said. “I am looking forward to working with many talented colleagues from across the university to advance the reputation of UB and its people. UB has a great story and together we will continue telling it to the world.”

DellaContrada and his team in University Communications earned a 2014 Gold Excalibur Award from the Buffalo chapter of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) for their work during the 2013 visit to campus by former president Barack Obama, as well as a second 2014 Gold Excalibur Award for efforts to boost UB’s science and technology research coverage in prominent news media worldwide.

Deeply involved within his professional community as well, Della Contrada is a past president of the PRSA Buffalo/Niagara Chapter, and was a recipient of the chapter’s Outstanding Practitioner Award.

A resident of Orchard Park., he earned a master’s of science degree in communications management at Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and a bachelor’s in English at the State University of New York at Oswego.

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