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GRANT J. HESTON
Vice president, Division of University Relations
In the cabinet-level position of vice president for university relations, Grant J. Heston leads the multiple departments responsible for branding, communications and marketing for VCU and VCU Health.
Before joining VCU in 2021, Heston spent 12 years at the University of Central Florida as vice president for Communications and Marketing and Chief of Staff. Heston earned a bachelor’s degree in Journalism from the University of Florida, a master’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Central Florida, and also studied in the Harvard University Graduate School of Education. However, Heston credits his experience as a volunteer Little League baseball and softball coach for his most valuable leadership lessons.
MIKE PORTER, APR
Associate vice president, University Public Affairs
As associate vice president of University Public Affairs, Michael R. Porter, APR, leads the public relations responsibilities of VCU and VCU Health. Porter oversees day-to-day operation of the public affairs unit, including external communications, media relations and issues management. He also coordinates strategic communications planning and execution for universitywide efforts, including student life, community engagement and inclusive excellence.
Porter joined University Public Affairs in December 2005 after a career of more than 20 years in broadcast journalism. He earned an Accreditation in Public Relations in 2012 and is a member of the Public Relations Society of America.
Executive director, Executive Communications
As executive director of executive communications, Danny Woodward leads the strategy and day-to-day operations of executive communications, including executive and university-level events and special programs.
A member of the University Relations team since February 2012, Woodward moved to Richmond following eight years as special assistant to the president at The University of Texas at Arlington. He also worked as a staff writer at The Dallas Morning News for six years. Woodward is a founding member of the Professional Speechwriters Association, a member of the Washington Speechwriters Roundtable and a two-time winner of the Cicero Speechwriting Award, which honors the world’s best speeches in any field.
Associate vice president, University Marketing
As associate vice president of University Marketing, Tom Klug is accountable for VCU’s strategic marketing communications and serves as chief creative officer. This includes overseeing the university’s national advertising, brand strategy and digital presence.
Before joining VCU in 2012, Klug led the creative services team at Capital One in Richmond, Virginia, providing digital, print, branding and strategic support for all lines of business. He also served previously as vice president and brand executive for Merkle and vice president for CFM Direct after beginning his career as an entrepreneur in 1986 with Klug Design, a studio that provided creative and marketing services for national clients.