COLUMBIA, SC — Luanne Lawrence, the communications vice president who helped rebrand the University of South Carolina, confirmed Thursday that she is leaving the school after 2½ years.
Lawrence said she is taking a job at University of California-Davis as associate chancellor for strategic communications. She was paid $237,000 a year at USC.
“Leaving was a very hard decision because we have so much forward momentum and great things materializing with the branding and our other efforts,” Lawrence wrote in an e-mail. “We have built a very talented staff, and they are pushing themselves to new heights. I am so proud of what we have achieved.”
Lawrence said she is leaving South Carolina to join a school that she admired for much of her career. Cal-Davis is ranked eighth among public colleges by US News & World Report. USC is ranked 55th.
Lawrence also wanted to return to the West. She worked at Oregon State before coming to Columbia in 2010.
Lawrence came to USC to develop a marketing and interactive plan for the university. She spearheaded a re-branding campaign that debuted last year under the theme of “No Limits” with signs and billboards using the tail feathers from the Gamecock athletics logo.
The project’s start-up cost was more than $600,000.
Lawrence also worked at boosting South Carolina’s standing in U.S. News’ annual college rankings. USC’s rankings slipped last year because it received lower scores in reviews from other colleges.
Lawrence also had a survey conducted last year that found the universities of North Carolina and Virginia – both Top 5 public schools in the magazine rankings – enjoy better reputations than USC among its students, parents, faculty, alumni and community leaders.
She also helped handle the school’s public response to a NCAA probe into its athletics program.