Mary-Hope Vass will take over Read's position as interim university spokesperson and director of communications on Nov. 1. 

Caitlyn Read, JMU’s spokesperson and director of communications, is leaving the communications and marketing department to accept the position of director of state government relations for JMU on Nov. 1. 

“[This] was an open position, and she applied for it and was the successful candidate,” Andy Perrine, associate vice president for communications and marketing, said. “It's an area that she's been wanting to get into, and I'm very sad to see her go in the middle of a very tumultuous time, but the university is lucky to hang on to her.”

In her new position, Read will work under Charles King, senior vice president for administration and finance, to “advance the goals and initiatives of JMU to local and state elected and appointed officials,” Perrine said in an email sent out to faculty and staff on Thursday. 

“This is an opportunity for me to go and represent University in a different capacity involved in really important conversations at the state level around funding and government funding and governance and in legislative affairs,” Read said. “So it's a really amazing opportunity. I'm really thankful to Mr. King, for giving me the chance to learn from him in this new role. And I'm really looking forward to it.”

Read saidin her new position, she’ll be workingwork with elected officials at the state level and local level to make sure that the university’s priorities are reflected.

The director of state government relations position opened up in the middle of spring when the individual who previously held this position moved to another organization Perrine said.

Read accepted the job as director of state government relations Sept. 29.and JMU opened an application on the university’s Job Link page for the next director of communications and university spokesperson Monday.

“This was just an opportunity to make a difference for the institution I've been, you know, affiliated with for the last 14 years, but to serve in a new and maybe a little bit different capacity,” Read said. 

Read began the position of interim university spokesperson and director of communications after Bill Wyatt accepted a job at Virginia Military Institute in the middle of January. At the beginning of March, Read officially assumed the position. 

Perrine said Mary-Hope Vass, who’s currently the university’s associate director of media relations, will take over as interim university spokesperson and director of communications Nov. 1 when Read officially starts her new role. Read’s position will be filled through a national search. 

Read said taking this new position “makes a whole ofwhole lot of sense” for her family and for where she wants to take her career in the future. She said although it was a difficult decision to leave her current job, this opportunity was one she couldn’t pass on. 

“It was a challenging decision; I have the privilege of working for a really amazing team, and times right now are very challenging,” Read said. “I would not leave unless I was entirely confident that I was leaving the team in really good, really capable hands.” 

Contact Carley Welch at breezenews@gmail.com. For more coverage of JMU and Harrisonburg news, follow the news desk on Twitter @BreezeNewsJMU.