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Athletics News

Kelly Brennan
June 16, 2017

PITTSBURGH—University of Pittsburgh director of athletics Heather Lyke announced today the hiring of Kelly Brennan as executive director for strategic initiatives and engagement.

    Brennan spent the past four years at Eastern Michigan University, where she served as the director of presidential events and protocol. In her new capacity for Pitt Athletics, she will be responsible for developing departmental strategic initiatives as well as planning, executing and creating extraordinary experiences and events for donors, fans, coaches, staff, student-athletes and the campus community.

    “We are fortunate to be able to recruit and hire a talented teammate like Kelly,” Lyke said. “She brings an incredibly unique expertise and dynamic personality to our team. Kelly will help us develop numerous strategic initiatives as well as engage our donors, fans and campus community in a meaningful and memorable way."

    “I am honored and so very excited to have the pleasure to work with such a dynamic and forward-thinking athletic director,” Brennan said. “She is truly one of a kind and surrounds herself with Incredible people, all of whom I am thrilled to be working with. I am also really looking forward to partnering with her and the entire Pitt family to create WOW and magical memories that leave a lasting impression with our student-athletes, donors, campus community, alumni and engaged fans.”

    At Eastern Michigan, Brennan coordinated and executed all presidential office events, oversaw all matters of protocol and assisted the president, board of regents, athletic department, deans, faculty and EMU community with public engagement and image. She was also responsible for developing unique home and away experiences on game day for donors and special guests.

    Prior to Eastern Michigan, Brennan served under Michigan governor Jennifer Granholm as the residence and events director. At the conclusion of the Granholm Administration, Brennan was the only member of the Executive Office asked to remain in their current position under new governor Rick Snyder. She provided leadership and direction for both the Lansing and Mackinac Island residences, was the project manager on all residence renovations, managed and maintained all family activity while coordinating and executing all events.

    These events ranged from family functions, private dinners, fundraisers, galas, awards and two National Governor’s Association Conferences. Governor and First Lady Snyder also requested her services for their Election Night in 2014 and asked her to chair the 2015 Inaugural Gala following his win.

    A highly decorated professional, Brennan was named the 2009-10 NACE Caterer of the Year and the 2010 MPI Speaker of the Year. Michigan Meetings + Events Magazine also selected her as one of the Top 3 Event Professionals and inducted her into the 2013 Hall of Fame as Best Special Event Planner.

    Brennan began her professional career as an executive meeting manager at the Radisson Plaza Hotel and Suites in Kalamazoo, Mich. She advanced through such positions as catering sales manager, convention services manager and hotel and department training manager. She went on to oversee all food and beverage operations for Western Michigan University’s Fetzer Center as well as the suites in Waldo Stadium for Broncos football.

    Brennan earned her undergraduate and graduate degrees from Western Michigan. She owns a bachelor’s degree in business marketing and administration, and master’s degree in athletic administration with an emphasis in event coordination. Brennan additionally holds two of the highest national designations in the industry with certifications as a Certified Meeting Professional and as a Certified Professional in Catering and Events.

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Brennan Named Executive Director for Strategic Initiatives and Engagement

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