ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The University of New Mexico’s communications director is leaving after five years, vacating a position that UNM plans to retool to handle mounting requests from reporters.
Dianne Anderson is resigning her post as UNM’s primary spokesperson Thursday. She said she will move to Florida where her husband has taken a new job.
Anderson joined UNM in 2012 following a long career in local TV news, including more than 20 years total at KOAT and KRQE. She has lived in Albuquerque since 1989, but said her children have both recently graduated from UNM and moved out of state.
“It’s at the perfect time for me,” she said of her departure. “It’s a new stage in my life.”
UNM has seen a surge in media interest given a recent rocky spell that included a U.S. Department of Justice investigation into the school’s handling of sexual assault cases; tensions between the regents and its past president, Bob Frank, who stepped down last year; and athletic department financial problems that both the New Mexico attorney general and state auditor are investigating.
Anderson said increasing media scrutiny of UNM did not drive her decision. But it is prompting the university to redesign the job.
Cinnamon Blair, UNM’s chief marketing and communications officer, said Anderson had a number of responsibilities in addition to handling media requests, such as writing stories for UNM’s Newsroom website and working on “high-level,” strategic messaging for the university. But Blair said she will refine the position so that its sole focus is media relations.
“The media inquiries have been much more prolific over the past few years,” Blair said.
Blair said there is no timetable for filling the job, which UNM had not posted as of Monday afternoon. She called Anderson’s departure a “huge loss,” but added, “she’s done everything she can to make sure when somebody comes in they’ll be able to hit the ground running.”
Anderson might not be the only spokesperson leaving UNM. Billy Sparks, executive director of communications and marketing for UNM’s Health Sciences Center, confirmed Monday he may soon retire.
“I turned 65 (this month) and am contemplating retirement in the near future,” Sparks said. A former spokesman for Gov. Bill Richardson, Sparks has been at UNM since 2006.