Luanne Lawrence, the communication vice president at the University of South Carolina who helped re-brand the school, confirmed Thursday that she is leaving the school after 2½ years.
She said she is taking a job at University of California-Davis as associate chancellor for strategic communications. She earned $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 email. "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 she admired much of her career that ranks eighth among public colleges by US News & World Report. USC ranks 55th.
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She also wanted to return to the West where she worked at Oregon State before coming to Columbia in 2010.
Lawrence came to USC to develop a marketing and interactive plan for South Carolina.
She spearheaded a re-branding campaign at the school that debuted last year under a theme of “No Limits” with signs and billboards using the tail feathers from the Gamecock athletics logo. USC also opened a store in downtown Charleston.
The project start-up cost $900,000.
Her work aimed at boosting South Carolina’s standing in U.S. News & World Report’s annual college rankings. USC’s rankings slipped last year because the school received lower scores in reviews from other colleges.
Lawrence also had a survey conducted last year that found 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 the athletics program.