UC Davis executive joins Pacific as Chief Communications Officer

Sallie Poggi

Sallie Poggi

Sallie A. Poggi, the No. 2 communications executive at the University of California, Davis, is joining University of the Pacific as chief communications officer.

Poggi serves as executive director and chief of staff of the office of Strategic Communications at UC Davis, where she serves as a strategic thought partner to the chief marketing and communications officer and is responsible for the operations and overall communications strategy execution for the university.

Her duties include overall administrative oversight of university-wide communications, managing executive communications of Chancellor Gary S. May, leading messaging strategy, supporting crisis communications, and overseeing the unit’s diversity efforts and representing the university in the community.

Previously she served as UC Davis’s director of social media, where she built and designed the university’s social media team.

“We are thrilled Sallie is joining Pacific’s executive leadership team,” said Pacific President Christopher Callahan. “She possesses deep knowledge of communications strategies and tactics, a digital-first focus, high emotional intelligence and a sense of urgency.”

As Pacific’s chief communications executive, Poggi will be a direct report to the president and serve on the university’s Cabinet, designing and executing Pacific’s communications strategy to project the university’s student-centric focus to audiences locally, regionally, nationally and globally.

“I am honored to serve the University of the Pacific in this impactful role,” Poggi said. “Pacific’s dedication to the success of its students and commitment to diversity and inclusion was clear to me from the first time I stepped on campus. I look forward to the opportunity to work together with President Callahan and the talented team at Pacific to increase awareness of this great institution.”

The president noted Poggi’s blend of experiences in higher education and in commercial communications.

She served for nearly nine years at UC Davis, her alma mater. UC Davis is a comprehensive research university ranked No. 28 nationally–and No. 6 among all public universities–by U.S. News & World Report. It has nearly 40,000 students and a $7 billion annual budget.

“Sallie built a reputation as a collaborative leader skilled at engaging and building community using communications,” said UC Davis Chancellor Gary S. May. “While we will miss Sallie, we are excited to see her take on this new leadership role at University of the Pacific.” 

Before joining Davis, she was a managing supervisor at FleishmanHillard, one of the world’s largest marketing and public relations agencies.

She starts July 15.

Poggi is the newest member of Pacific’s leadership team assembled by Callahan since he started as president nearly four years ago after 15 years as dean and vice provost at Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

Last year, Gretchen Edwalds-Gilbert, a top academic leader at Scripps College and biology professor at Scripps, Claremont McKenna College and Pitzer College, joined Pacific as provost and executive vice president. Lee Skinner, dean of Newcomb-Tulane College at Tulane University and former associate dean at Claremont McKenna, was appointed dean of the College of the Pacific, the university’s liberal arts and sciences school. Adam Tschuor, the No. 2 athletics executive at University of Dayton, started as Pacific’s new athletic director. And Lauren Schoenthaler, senior university counsel at Stanford University, was appointed Pacific’s chief general counsel.

In 2022, James Walsh, the No. 2 financial executive at Tufts University, joined Pacific as chief financial officer and Niraj Chaudhary was promoted to dean of the William Knox Holt Memorial Library and Learning Center.

UCLA Dean for Students Maria Q. Blandizzi was named vice president for student life in 2021 while Liz Orwin, head of engineering at Harvey Mudd College, was appointed dean of the School of Engineering and Computer Science and Mary Lomax-Ghirarduzzi ’89, vice provost for diversity at the University of San Francisco, was named Pacific’s inaugural vice president for diversity, equity and inclusion.

Earlier, Scott Biedermann ’05, ’20, was promoted to vice president for development and alumni relations. Christopher Ferguson, an enrollment strategist from Occidental College, was the first of the president’s leadership hires when he was named Pacific’s vice president for enrollment strategy.

Pacific is California’s first and oldest university, founded in 1851. The Northern California university, with more than 6,700 students across campuses in Stockton, Sacramento and San Francisco, is ranked as No. 11 among private universities in the West by The Wall Street Journal.

Alumni are ranked in the Top 2% of career earnings. Pacific also is one of the nation’s few private universities that is designated by the U.S. Department of Education as both a Hispanic-Serving Institution and Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institution.