UA Names Randy Massanelli to Head Governmental Relations

by Mark Carter  on Monday, May. 5, 2014 4:16 pm  

The University of Arkansas on Monday named Randy Massanelli its new vice chancellor for governmental relations.

Massanelli, the state director for U.S. Senator Mark Pryor, will assume his new duties on July 1. He will replace the retiring Richard Hudson, who has worked for the UA since 1994 and whose last day will be July 31.

The vice chancellor for governmental relations coordinates UA activities related to government organizations on local, state and federal levels and works with the state's local and federal elected representatives, according to a UA news release. 

"Randy comes to us highly regarded, with a strong track record of accomplishment working with all levels of government and all political parties," said UA chancellor David Gearhart in the release. "His experience with Arkansas politics will help us not only continue, but deepen, our relationships with our state lawmakers."

Gearhart said he charged the university search committee to find someone who could foster good relations with elected officials but also be effective in advancing the UA's institutional priorities. Other finalists were state Sen. Johnny Key, R-Mountain Home, and Mac Campbell, a former aide to Sen. Blanche Lincoln and deputy staff director of the U.S. Senate Finance Committee.

"The committee advanced three incredibly qualified finalists, each with strong credentials and experience," Gearhart said. "It was a close race and at the end of the day, Randy edged out the others with his federal government experience. Richard's are big shoes to fill, and I’m confident Randy will ensure a smooth transition."

Massanelli is a UA graduate who has worked for Pryor since 2002.

"I am humbled and honored to be selected as the next vice chancellor for governmental relations," Massanelli said. "I am proud to be working for my alma mater and am eager to do my best for the university and our state."

The position drew 33 applicants, five of whom were invited to Fayetteville to interview with the search committee which then pared the list down to the final three.

A U.S. Army veteran of the Persian Gulf War and a Bronze Star recipient, Massanelli has served as state director for U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor since 2002. He previously served as Pryor’s campaign manager in 2001-2002 and was director of operations for the Arkansas attorney general’s office. 

The search committee included the following members:
  • Kathy Van Laningham, UA vice provost for institutional research, committee chair
  • Jerry Adams, president and CEO, Arkansas Research Alliance
  • Lynda Coon, professor, UA Department of History
  • Steve Higginbothom, former state senator, District 16
  • Stacy Leeds, dean, UA School of Law
  • Katy Nelson-Ginder, assistant vice chancellor for university development
  • Charles Robinson, UA vice chancellor for diversity and community
  • Melissa Rust, vice president for university relations, University of Arkansas System
  • Gary Smith, president, Glass Erectors.



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