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March 6, 2018

Engler makes two key executive appointments

Michigan State University Interim President John Engler announced two key executive level appointments March 6. Kathleen M. Wilbur has been appointed Executive Vice President for Government and External Relations, and Emily Gerkin Guerrant has been appointed Vice President and University Spokesperson.

“These two Spartan women bring a wealth of experience to MSU and I’m very pleased they have accepted the challenge. This is a time of transition for MSU and adding Kathy and Emily to the leadership team is a strong step in moving our university forward,” Engler explained.

Wilbur has spent decades in higher education and state government, most recently serving as Vice President for Government and External Relations at Central Michigan University. She has also served as Interim President of CMU as well as Vice President for Development and External Relations. She has been with CMU since 2002. Prior to that, she worked in state government as Director of the Michigan Department of Consumer and Industry Services, Director of the Michigan Department of Commerce, Deputy Director of the Michigan Department of Commerce and Director of the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulation. Wilbur is the only woman who has ever directed three different Michigan state departments. Earlier in her career, Wilbur served as Chief of Staff to State Senator William Sederburg, who chaired the Higher Education Appropriations Committee. She was elected to the MSU Board of Trustees in 1984 and served through 1990.

A member of the Michigan Women’s Hall of Fame, Wilbur received her Doctor of Philosophy in Higher Education Administration, Master of Arts in Higher Education Administration and Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from MSU.

“Kathleen’s credentials are impeccable. She has directed large, complex organizations in higher education and in state government. She is a collaborative and strategic decision maker. Her skill set will be extremely valuable at this time for MSU,” Engler said.

Wilbur will be replacing Mark Burnham who has worked in Government Relations at MSU for almost 12 years. Engler thanked him for his commitment and work over the years as he leaves to pursue other opportunities.

Guerrant has most recently served as Senior Vice President of Communications, Marketing and Public Relations for the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. Prior positions include Vice President of John Bailey and Associates, Managing Director for Lambert, Edwards and Associates, Deputy Press Secretary for the Speaker of the House, and various positions in the Michigan legislature.

Guerrant earned her Master of Arts in Public Relations from Michigan State and a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Political Science from Central Michigan.

“Emily will be the primary spokesperson for MSU and the main contact for media. Her experience at the award winning MEDC will help our university convey the openness and transparency we all strive for. The challenge is great, but I know she’s up to the task,” Engler said.

These appointments continue to build a strong executive team that will provide an increased level of expertise for MSU.

"As a proud MSU alum I am looking forward to returning and doing anything I can to help assist my alma mater. I am honored to have this tremendous opportunity to help this great institution," Wilbur said.

“I’m grateful for the opportunity to be a part of rebuilding a new culture at MSU, one that is focused on collaboration and transparency,” Guerrant said. “A strong communications platform helps any organization, and I look forward to joining the university’s team and working on the renewed trust being built with the community.”

Wilbur will have responsibility for Government Relations, Communications and Development functions. Guerrant will build a media relations team that will be responsible for the large volume of media calls and requests. Both appointments were effective March 12, 2018.