Michelle Ma resigns her post as Chief Communications Officer


Allison Felt

Photo by Allie Felt (2014)

Whitman College staff and faculty received an email from President Murray last Wednesday, October 21 indicating that Chief Communications Officer Michelle Ma had resigned her position and will be leaving the College, effective November 2.

President Murray’s email expressed that Associate Vice President for Development Chris Ponce will take over management of the day-to-day operations of the Communications Office while Vice President for Development and Alumni Relations John Bogley will report about the Communications Office at the cabinet level.

Ma joined the College less than two years ago in January 2014, replacing former Assistance Vice President of Communications Ruth Wardwell. President Murray’s email indicated that her brief tenure was appreciated by the administration.

“Michelle leaves the Communications function stronger and well-positioned to advance the best interests of Whitman College,” President Murray wrote. “I want to thank Michelle for her many contributions to the College.”

Photo by Allie Felt (2014)
Photo by Allie Felt (2014)

Ma declined The Pioneer’s request to interview her regarding the resignation.

Ma formerly served as Director of Marketing, Public Relations and Governmental Affairs at Coastline Community College in Southern California for nearly nine years. In that role, her communications team was recognized with more than 40 awards for excellence in marketing, writing and design by the National Council for Marketing and PR (NCMPR) and the Community College PR Organization (CCPRO).

A Pioneer article written by Shelly Le describing the hiring suggested it was part of the administration’s efforts to improve the college’s use of digital media and to attract a more diverse group of students in order to launch Whitman into the national spotlight as an academically competitive and diverse liberal arts college.

Ma, who grew up on the border of Compton, Calif. and gave a lecture on the importance of a diverse student body during her job interview at Whitman, noted at the time of her hiring that she would be making efforts to incorporate the college’s mission of diversity in this strategic communications plan.

As of Thursday evening, the student body of Whitman College had yet to be notified of the resignation.