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The New Faces of Engagement

Gabe Gomez and Paul Secord are the new guys in town and on campus. Both Gomez and Secord joined the Southwestern staff on June 1, 2015.

Gomez, Southwestern’s first Chief Marketing Officer, brings 16 years of experience to campus. Most recently, he was the communications director at St. John’s College in Santa Fe, New Mexico. In addition to his professional experience in marketing and public relations, he holds an M.F.A. in creative writing and has taught English at the College of Santa Fe, the Institute of Indian Arts, the University of New Orleans and Tulane University.

Secord, Southwestern’s new Vice President of University Relations, will head the Office of University Relations, which includes the Offices of Gift Programs, University Events and Alumni and Parent Relations. Most recently, he was the director of development and gift planning at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa. Secord holds a B.A. in political science (magna cum laude) and an M.Ed. in curriculum and instruction, both conferred in 1998 from Boston College, and received an M.S. in taxation from Bentley University in 2003.


Gabe Gomez, Chief Marketing Officer

What opportunities does Southwestern have with regard to marketing?

The door is wide open for Southwestern. We are in a position to build a marketing program that’s unique to the University with a unified voice; one that speaks to our strengths and achievements, the complexity of our character, and of course our academic excellence. Truly, it’s an exciting time and our opportunities are limitless.


What will this mean for Southwestern and those who love it?

Our students, alumni, faculty and staff are integral to the story that we tell the world. Without these voices, ours will be an oversimplified message that will fail to capture the Southwestern Experience. The marketing team’s job, and indeed our mission, will be to create pathways and opportunities for inclusivity and responsiveness in creating and disseminating our story.

What are your goals for your position?

A key priority is to create and facilitate a dialogue among our campus community and the SU family that will result in a message that reflects our core values and tells the stories of Southwestern in a dynamic and integrated manner. To be sure, we must develop a strategic marketing plan and strengthen our processes from concept to delivery, and everything in between.

How do you see yourself as a promoter of Southwestern?

It’s my responsibility to make sure we successfully execute the marketing program, take advantage of promotional opportunities, and measure our success with all of the latest tools at our disposal. I will make sure we get in the game and stay in the game.

What makes you passionate about the liberal arts?

I attended and earned degrees from two liberal arts colleges. My education taught me to be courageous, to try new things, to solve problems, and to be engaged with the world. I truly believe the liberal arts are a gift and can change lives, because it has and continues to change my life.

What appeals to you about working at Southwestern?

Southwestern is the embodiment of what a liberal arts education promises and delivers. Most importantly, the University’s core values are in line with my personal values. Southwestern is the whole package; I’m lucky and humbled to be here.

What excites you most about living in Texas?

I’m coming home. I grew up in El Paso, and I love so much of what Central Texas is all about—music, food, arts, service. I love small towns, the friendly people, and the opportunity to get involved. I don’t even mind the humidity!

Tell us five fun facts about you.
  1. I love food—cooking, eating, sharing.
  2. I spend a lot of time outdoors, most especially fly fishing.
  3. I’m an avid reader. My favorite book (currently) is War and Peace.
  4. I’m a huge music nerd. I was a radio DJ in Santa Fe, and have lots of love for funk, R&B and Americana.
  5. Poetry is my first passion. Two of my poetry collections have been published, with a new manuscript in development
What else would you like people to know about you?

I could live on art and big ideas. I know that sounds weird, but it’s the truth. From seminars to salons to gallery and museum exhibits to modern dance performances to site-specific art, I welcome it all.


Paul Secord, Vice President for University Relations

Paul-Secord_fullWhat opportunities does Southwestern have with regard to university relations?

Historically, Southwestern has done a great job of engaging alumni. As University Relations evolves, we will be working hard to find new ways of engaging them as well as the broader community of current students, parents, corporations, foundations and friends—bringing them to campus as well as bringing the University to them. We also need to move Southwestern forward financially and need to raise resources.


What will fulfilling these opportunities mean for Southwestern?

As we develop a better brand by engaging our small but loyal body of alumni, we create a stronger network, locally, regionally and nationally. This network of constituents who all share a common denominator in SU will continue to make Southwestern a preeminent national liberal arts university where students aspire to come. As simple as it sounds, the power of our network driving us forward will continue to draw top-caliber students, who will in turn help us build a stronger network.

What are your goals for your position?

As I get started, I want to meet and hear the stories of as many constituents as possible to learn about what we’re doing well and what we can improve on; not to change the culture, but to leverage it. There is no finish line to what we need to do. As we move forward, there is no question that we need to increase our philanthropic resources, particularly those that most directly support our students and faculty through scholarships, faculty development funds, and providing world class teaching and learning spaces.

How do you see yourself as an advocate for Southwestern?

I want to make sure people realize that Southwestern is even better than they already believe it to be. I am proud to be a part of the Southwestern University family and I hope and expect all of our alumni, students, parents and friends to be equally proud!

What makes you passionate about the liberal arts and Southwestern specifically?

Liberal arts is a way of thinking that allows us to connect with each other and to unify all different aspects of our lives. Some say we all end up in business, regardless of our degree. The way we teach our students at Southwestern positions them to be leaders in whatever they do after graduation, regardless of whether they are in the business of education, health care, the arts, or in the business of business.

What excites you most about living in Texas?

I have long admired and respected the warmth and philanthropic tendencies of Texans from the days when I traveled here on behalf of a previous employer. I also love the food, the culture and the weather. (Yes, it gets to 100 degrees, but not -18 degrees; selling my snow thrower before moving down here was one of the most satisfying moments of my life!) I must say, I do not love the spiders and scorpions, many of which I have already had the displeasure of meeting!

Tell us five fun facts about you.
  1. To my wife, Deborah, and I, family is everything. We have a daughter, Charlotte, who is 10 and is an aspiring astrophysicist. Our son, Patrick, is seven and such a joy to be around; he is the only person in the world who has the particular genetic condition that he has, and he has taught me more about patience and advocacy than I ever would have imagined.
  2. I am a lover of food and an entrepreneur; I owned two restaurants in Iowa, one barbecue and one French bistro.
  3. I’ve visited 49 of the 50 states; I have yet to go to Alaska.
  4. I have Synesthesia and can “see” sounds.
  5. Our family loves to go to Disney World!

Story by Kristina Moore

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