Julie A. Peterson is co-founder and partner of Peterson Rudgers Group. Prior to launching a successful consulting practice in 2015, Peterson spent more than 30 years in higher education leadership roles, as well as teaching and presenting on strategy, leadership, communications, and issues management. She has led communications for a wide range of topics across higher education, including academic medical centers, college athletics, student life, fundraising campaigns, admissions and student recruitment, civic engagement, diversity and inclusion, and the launch of new academic programs.
As Vice President for Communications at the University of Chicago from 2007-15, Peterson was responsible for transforming the external visibility and reputation of the university among a broad range of audiences in the United States and around the world. Her work helped to elevate the university in the U.S. News rankings from 15 to 4, more than triple student applications to the College, strengthen faculty recruitment, and dramatically increase fundraising. The university’s homepage (www.uchicago.edu), developed under her creative leadership, won two prestigious Webby awards in 2014. She led the communications for the university’s successful bid to win the Barack Obama Presidential Library to Chicago’s South Side.
Before joining the University of Chicago, Peterson served as interim vice president for communications at the University of Michigan, overseeing all aspects of both internal and external communications. As associate vice president for media relations and public affairs at Michigan from 2000 to 2007, she managed emerging public issues, guided communications for university strategic priorities and initiatives, and became a senior adviser to the president and executive leadership team, providing critical leadership for a number of important challenges including the Michigan affirmative action lawsuits that went to the Supreme Court. Prior to that, she served 6 years as the news director at the University of Michigan and 10 years at Indiana University as managing editor of the news service and as a public relations representative for the business school.
Peterson holds a BA in journalism and psychology with high distinction from Indiana University and an MBA in marketing research from IU’s Kelley School of Business. She has taught in the University of Chicago Civic Leadership Academy and Chicago Booth’s Advanced Management Program as well as its Executive Program for Emerging Leaders. She has served on the UChicago Diversity Leadership Council, the public affairs committee of the Association of American Universities, the public issues committee of the Consortium on Financing of Higher Education, and the founding council of Futurity.