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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

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Alumnus Matthew Cecil Named Dean of College of Arts and Humanities

New dean will begin duties on July 1.

2016-04-22
Minnesota State University, Mankato Media Relations Office News Release, 4-22-2016

Mankato, Minn. – Matthew Cecil (pictured), professor and director of the Elliott School of Communication at Wichita State University, has been named the new dean of the College of Arts and Humanities at Minnesota State University, Mankato, effective July 1.

Cecil’s appointment was announced today by Minnesota State Mankato Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Marilyn Wells after a national search.

A Brookings, S.D., native, Cecil is a Minnesota State Mankato alumnus, having earned a master’s degree in history from the University in 1997. He went on to earn a doctor of philosophy degree in mass communication (emphasis in public relations) from the University of Iowa School of Journalism and Mass Communication in 2000.

“I am thrilled that Dr. Cecil will be joining our academic leadership team this summer,” Wells said. “His exceptional qualifications and track record of achievements make him well poised to lead and serve our College of Arts and Humanities as we continue to advance our academic master plan (2015-2018), and celebrate our University’s sesquicentennial. I was impressed with his energy and enthusiasm, and commitment to faculty and students. Dr. Cecil has strong experience in community programming and partnering with the business sector to advance the College. He will bring a respect for and deep understanding of all disciplines in the arts and humanities, as well as fresh ideas as we look to the future.”

After earning his doctorate, Cecil held faculty positions from 2000-2013 at Purdue University, the University of Oklahoma and South Dakota State University, where he also served as assistant department head. He has served at Wichita State University since July 2013.

In his role as director of the Elliott School of Communication, he led the school to numerous accomplishments, including establishment of the Ad Astra Communication Agency, a student-staffed communications enterprise, and the Center for Excellence in Oral Communication.

Earlier in his career, Cecil spent seven years as a media professional, working for daily newspapers, political campaigns and in corporate media relations. He earned a bachelor’s degree in history from South Dakota State University in 1995 before going on to pursue his graduate education.

Cecil is a media historian and the author of an award-winning book, “Hoover’s FBI and the Fourth Estate: The Campaign to Control the Press and the Bureau’s Image,” published in 2014 by the University Press of Kansas.

Cecil is also the author of two books that are scheduled to be published in October. In addition, Cecil has published or presented more than 20 papers on topics ranging from public relations history to media criticism.

Minnesota State Mankato’s College of Arts and Humanities includes eight departments with majors leading to a baccalaureate degree – Art; Communication Studies; English; Mass Media; Music; Philosophy; Theatre & Dance; and World Languages & Cultures. Academic programs in the college range from traditional liberal arts programs to interdisciplinary studies. Post-baccalaureate work, leading to a master’s degree, is available in many of the programs.

Cecil succeeds Walter Zakahi as permanent dean of the College of Arts and Humanities. Zakahi was dean from 2010-2014. Kimberly Contag, a professor of Spanish at Minnesota State Mankato, has served as interim dean of the college since July 1, 2014.

Minnesota State Mankato, a comprehensive university with 15,193 students, is part of the Minnesota State Colleges & Universities system, which comprises 31 state institutions.

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