Laura Jacobs Named University Relations Leader at University of Arkansas

Laura Jacobs, the director of communications at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, has been named the new associate vice chancellor of university relations at the University of Arkansas, a position formerly held by John Diamond.

Jacobs begins her new job on Jan. 27.

"The university had many highly qualified applicants for this position," Chris Wyrick, vice chancellor for university advancement, said in a news release. "Laura Jacobs stood out as clearly the best among these candidates, as a truly great choice to lead university relations, and an excellent addition to our advancement leadership team."

Jacobs has worked for the univeristy before. She first joined the university relations office in 1998 and held several roles, including manager of development communications, managing editor of Arkansas magazine, and senior director of strategic communications.

Jacobs joined Crystal Bridges in November 2011, the same month that the museum held its grand opening.

"I am honored to have been selected for this role at my alma mater," Jacobs said. "I'm eager to begin working with the stellar group of professionals charged with advancing the University of Arkansas."

As associate vice chancellor for university relations, Jacobs will oversee a department responsible for all university communications and media relations.

Jacobs takes over the role held by John Diamond, whom Wyrick fired in August. Diamond has since been a central figure in scandal involving a $4 million budget deficit in the Advancement Division budget.

Diamond has said he was fired after disagreements with Wyrick and UA Chancellor G. David Gearhart over how the university repsonded to Freedom of Information Act requests related to the deficit. Under oath at a Legislative Audit hearing in September, Diamond accused Gearhart of ordering the destruction of documents about the advancement department's finances. Gearhart, also under oath, denied the allegations at that same hearing.

Diamond joined the university in 2010.