Chan Zuckerberg's Colburn joins Princeton as comms, public affairs lead

Brent Colburn was most recently VP of communications at the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative.

PRINCETON, NJ: Brent Colburn is exiting the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative to join Princeton University as VP of communications and public affairs.

Colburn’s start date at Princeton is February 1. He will take over for Robert Durkee, who has served as VP of public affairs since 1978. Durkee will remain at the university as VP and secretary.

Colburn will oversee Princeton’s external communications and act as its chief spokesperson. He will manage the offices of comms, public affairs at the state level, government affairs at the federal level in Washington, DC, as well as community and regional affairs.

Colburn will report to university President Christopher Eisgruber.

"Universities, like all big institutions, are kind of trying to find their place in the public conversation," Colburn said. "I know [Eisgruber] is committed to tackling issues around diversity, inclusion, and public service."

Colburn added that he was happy working at the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative and wasn’t looking for employment elsewhere, but was intrigued by the opportunity to work at Princeton. As the organization’s VP of communications, he was its lead comms strategist, manager and spokesman. Colburn built out the group’s communications team, hiring Jeff MacGregor as communications director for science, Jessica Santillo as comms director for policy and Raymonde Charles as comms director for education.

Amy Dudley, hired by Colburn as chief spokesperson, will serve as Chan Zuckerberg’s interim head of communications.

Coburn has also held government communications roles at FEMA and the departments of Homeland Security, Housing and Urban Development, and Defense, as well as President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign.

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