Michele Gaither Sparks named chief marketing and communications officer for Miami University

Michele Sparks

Michele Gaither Sparks

Michele Gaither Sparks has been named Miami University’s chief marketing and communications officer.

Sparks, currently the vice president of marketing and communications at Transylvania University in Lexington, Ky., will begin in her new role July 1.

Sparks has served in her current position at the top-100 liberal arts university since 2014. She has 25 years of experience in marketing and communications. Before Transylvania, she served as director of marketing communications at the University of Kentucky’s Gatton College of Business and Economics from 2005-2014.

Sparks has experience in leadership, high-level communication strategy development, brand identification and implementation, advertising and marketing, media relations and publications, among other areas.

At Transylvania, she is the university spokesperson and spearheaded the institution’s brand overhaul, including creating data-driven recruitment tools and reviving an athletics mascot.

“Miami’s brand and reputation as a top public university is exemplary, and I am elated to be joining the university’s communications and marketing team in helping to further build it,” Sparks said. “I look forward to not only working with the UCM staff, but also to partnering with faculty, staff and students as we seek creative and engaging ways to tell the Miami story. I’m eager to get started and to see what we can accomplish together.”

At Miami, she will lead a university communications staff of 36 who support the alumni magazine; communications analytics; external communications; licensing and trademarks; digital, marketing and creative services; news, media relations and internal communications; photography and videography; social media; and web design and development.

“Positioning Miami University as a valued and innovative brand with students, faculty, researchers and policymakers will help our university thrive,” Miami President Gregory P. Crawford said. “Michele has proven her ability to create evidence-based brand, marketing and communications tools that will differentiate Miami nationally and internationally. We welcome her to our creative team.”

Sparks was director of communications at Asbury Theological Seminary from 2002-2005 and associate director of communications there from 1994-2002. She was an adjunct faculty member at Asbury University from 2001-2005, teaching various courses within the journalism and public relations department.

She earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Asbury University.