Ron Kirksey specializes in crisis communication, media relations and executive communications, with special expertise in higher education issues.
Kirksey most recently served as executive director for University Communications at Kent State University. During his 10 years at Kent State, Ohio’s third-largest university, Kirksey served as spokesman for the eight-campus university, led crisis communications efforts, provided the strategies to protect and promote the university’s image and wrote strategic executive communications – speeches, op-eds, articles, annual reports and internal and external messages.
He also led Kent State’s media and public relations efforts with its many partners including NorTech, the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Samsung, Summa Health Systems, Cleveland Botanical Garden, Ohio Board of Regents, NCAA and N.E. Ohio Council on Higher Education.
Prior to coming to Kent State, Kirksey spent more than 20 years as a journalist, most of that time as an editorial writer, editor and columnist. His weekly column for the Akron Beacon Journal was published regularly throughout the United States through the Knight Ridder Wire Service.
Kirksey received numerous writing awards throughout his career. He also served as a lead writer on a year-long project for the Beacon Journal that won the 1994 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service.
As a ghostwriter for higher education executives, Kirksey’s writing appeared in the Columbus Dispatch, The Plain Dealer, Akron Beacon Journal, trade magazines and regional and national publications. He also wrote speeches and presentations to promote the organization’s brand or to re-establish its image following a crisis. Kirksey also led efforts at Kent State that resulted in two CASE (Council for the Advancement and Support of Education) Gold awards for national excellence in higher education marketing, for media relations and events supporting the 30th anniversary of the 1970 Kent State shootings.
Kirksey is a former president and board member of the Akron Press Club, and former member of the National Conference of Editorial Writers. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in political science (international studies) from the University of Tennessee and a Master of Arts in journalism/media management from Kent State University.