Jim Zook Named UM Associate Vice Chancellor

Communications leader will oversee continued development of key strategic priorities

Jim Zook

OXFORD, Miss. – Jim Zook, a veteran communications and marketing leader, has been named associate vice chancellor for strategic communications and marketing at the University of Mississippi.

Zook brings more than 25 years of expertise to UM from a career spanning corporate communications, consulting and media. Following a national search, Zook was selected to serve as the university’s chief public relations officer and chief communications and marketing strategist, working to create and implement an overarching strategic communications plan addressing marketing and public affairs.

“The power of higher education to transform lives, expand our understanding of the world and improve our quality of life has always inspired me,” Zook said. “I am thrilled to take on this role and support the work of the University of Mississippi to create opportunity and expand horizons for people across the state, the region and beyond.”

In this new role, Zook will continue the ongoing mission put forth by Chancellor Jeffrey S. Vitter in 2016 with the reinstatement of the Office of University Relations to provide more comprehensive and strategic coordination across communications, marketing and other key areas of the university.

“Our communications, marketing and branding efforts are integral to successfully advancing our mission as a flagship university,” Vitter said. “The addition of Jim Zook provides the Ole Miss leadership team with exceptional experience at a national level across a broad range of areas including crisis communications, brand leveraging and content development.

“We are excited about the fresh perspective that Jim brings to the university in his new role and look forward to his arrival on campus.”

Zook, who is based in Atlanta, comes to Ole Miss from Deloitte, a global professional services firm where he served most recently as head of communications in the U.S. for the Big Four auditor Deloitte & Touche. Previously, Zook served in a variety of leadership roles during nine years with Deloitte, including U.S. crisis communications lead.

Before joining Deloitte, Zook worked for the global consulting firm Mercer, the Office of the U.S. Secretary of Education in Washington, D.C., and as a reporter for The Chronicle of Higher Education, the Houston Chronicle and The Dallas Morning News.

Zook’s wife, Frances Flautt Zook, is an architect licensed in Georgia and Mississippi and a native of Greenwood. The Zooks have two sons: Jack, a junior at Ole Miss, and Will, a high school senior. The Zooks are members of the Ole Miss Family Leadership Council.

A 1987 graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Zook holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism and political science. He received a master’s degree in American studies from the University of Sussex in England in 1989, as well as a Master of Business Administration from the University of Texas at Austin in 2001.

During his time in Atlanta, Zook was actively involved in a variety of community leadership roles. He’s served as president of the Pace Academy Booster Club, vice chair and director of the UNC-Chapel Hill General Alumni Association, assistant scoutmaster with a local Boy Scout troop, and junior warden and vestry member of All Saints’ Episcopal Church.

Zook will officially assume his duties Aug. 1. His office will be located in Sam-Gerard Hall, where he will oversee the staff of strategic communications, marketing and brand strategy, and printing and creative services.