The University of St. Thomas has promoted a former public relations agency veteran and ex-journalist to be its top communicator. Andres (Andy) Ybarra was named the university’s chief communications officer after serving four years as its associate vice president of PR & Communications.
“Andy is a proven leader and is respected for his solid judgment and wise counsel,” President Rob Vischer said. “He has strong relationships with university leaders, trustees, faculty and staff.”
A native of El Paso, Texas, Ybarra will oversee St. Thomas’ central marketing department and continue to help drive a stronger focus on strategic communications at Minnesota’s largest private university. Since joining St. Thomas in 2019, he has helped lead communications around several high-profile announcements, including the university’s historic transition from Division-III to Division-I athletics, the launch of the Morrison Family College of Health and the Susan S. Morrison School of Nursing. He also has played a pivotal role in communications and media coverage regarding the ongoing transformation of South Campus with the Schoenecker Center for STEAM education and Lee and Penny Anderson Arena.
Ybarra was hired by the Minneapolis bureau of The Associated Press in 2001 after earning a degree in journalism and mass communications from New Mexico State University. He continued freelancing for The AP after joining global public relations and marketing firm Weber Shandwick, rising to senior vice president at the agency’s Minneapolis office before arriving at St. Thomas in 2019.