Ciresi Walburn

Amy McDonough Joins St. Thomas as Chief of Staff, Liaison to the Office of the President

The University of St. Thomas is pleased to announce the appointment of Amy McDonough '93 to the position of chief of staff and liaison to the Office of the President effective July 16. A Tommie alumna, McDonough currently leads governmental relations for the Minnesota Private College Council and brings 25 years of experience in developing policy positions, building coalitions and advancing leader’s priorities.

McDonough emerged as the front-runner from a very large and talented pool of more than 100 candidates.

“From her experience as director of government and community relations at the Minnesota Private College Council, Amy is very familiar with Catholic higher education, as well as higher education in general,” President Julie Sullivan said. “As an alumna, she understands and embraces the mission and values of St. Thomas. In addition, she has very high emotional intelligence and strong interpersonal skills. As one of her references noted, ‘Amy smiles and laughs a lot.’ I look forward to working closely with her.”

"I am excited to have the opportunity to join President Sullivan's team at the University of St. Thomas,” McDonough said. “My time as a student at St. Thomas had a profound influence on who I am as a person and on the opportunities that I have had professionally. I am dedicated to advancing the common good, admire the great things happening at St. Thomas and am grateful to be able to return to campus and share my skills with this very special community.”

As chief of staff and strategic adviser to the president, McDonough will serve as a trusted adviser to Sullivan, be a representative of the president to internal and external constituencies, and will facilitate the organization of leadership and strategic priorities. The chief of staff position combined two previously vacant positions within the Office of the President – executive adviser to the president and director of external relations, as well as other responsibilities. McDonough also will facilitate the organization of leadership and strategic planning meetings; support trustee engagement; and enable the president’s donor and alumni engagement efforts.

McDonough’s leadership, policy and communications experience spans 25 years in the public and private sectors working on behalf of elected offices, nonprofits and higher education. Prior to joining the leadership team at the MPCC, she served as the associate state director for AARP (2003-2014), where she developed and managed strategic plans and budgets for the long-term and short-term goals of the organization, led communications and managed coalition efforts with diverse partners. Prior to that, she worked for the state of Minnesota in the governor’s office during the Ventura administration. As a policy manager, she represented state agencies and the governor before the U.S. Congress, federal agencies and the Clinton administration. Her career began when she earned an internship working for U.S. Rep. David Minge and rapidly advanced as a congressional staffer, working for three congressmen in Washington, D.C., before returning to Minnesota five years later to work for Weber Shandwick. Amy holds a Bachelor of Arts in French and international studies from St. Thomas and was a Hubert H. Humphrey Policy Fellow at the University of Minnesota.