David played a key role in supporting Emerson College’s bold program to relocate its campus from the Back Bay section of Boston to the economically depressed Theatre District. He executed communication strategies that built a sense of community on the new “Campus on the Common” and told the Emerson story to neighborhood organizations, public officials and the news media.
Enhanced facilities and visibility spurred a four-fold increase in applications for admission and enhanced the academic profile of the student body. The Boston Globe applauded the College’s relocation in an editorial titled “Emerson’s Transformation.” A Boston Globe Magazine cover article titled “Out of the Shadows” chronicled the turnaround of a college that had been on the verge of insolvency.
David oversaw re-branding of the college and the redesign of its web sites, created a lively campus newspaper and retooled the alumni magazine. He managed communication during several crisis situations, including the tragic death of a student shot by Boston police outside Fenway Park, a fatal construction accident and a contentious and protracted collective bargaining dispute between the administration and the faculty.
In 2006, David launched a campaign to block construction of a proposed bus tunnel through the center of Emerson’s campus. The project would have severely disrupted campus life for a decade and would have cost transit riders and taxpayers $2 billion to create a mile-long transit link. He organized neighborhood opposition and commissioned an independent cost-benefit study. It found that the project would provide negligible transportation and environmental benefits at an enormous cost and could undermine the financial stability of the transit authority. The findings generated extensive press coverage. Soon thereafter, the Federal Transit Administration downgraded its rating of the project and cut off funding, and the state implemented a low-cost plan to complete the transit line without digging a tunnel.
David restructured a large public relations office that had been directed by the same man for 51 years and re-energized its 28-member staff. He created the university’s first internal newspaper, revamped its alumni magazine, oversaw development of the University’s first web site and greatly enhanced press coverage of the institution.
He generated international coverage of a $22 million gift from a 101-year-old woman with no previous connection to the institution. The story ran on the front page of the New York Times and was picked up by the wire services, the television networks and magazines such as People, Fortune and Readers Digest. The New York Times and the Boston Globe ran editorials. Oprah named the donor as a “Woman of the Year,” triggering an increase in applications for enrollment from women.
He helped elevatine Yeshiva’s standing among national research universities ranked by U.S. News and World Report by generating national media coverage of its academic programs and the achievements of its faculty and students and by sending targeted communication to the presidents of other research universities that participate in the rankings. During his tenure, Yeshiva’s U.S. News rankings climbed from Tier Four (lowest level) to Tier Two.
David was named vice president for public affairs amidst a crisis in leadership at the institution related to its Jewish identity. He handled communication during the tumultuous removal of the president, working closely with the chairman of the Board of Trustees and the interim president appointed by the Board.
He coordinated the announcement of a permanent new president and secured extensive positive coverage of his appointment, including congratulatory editorials in the Boston Globe and the Boston Herald and a cover story about the new president in the Boston Herald Magazine. He also arranged meetings with Jewish community leaders that helped reestablish positive relations with the University. This got the university back on track and restored its standing in the Jewish philanthropic community.
First as a consultant and later as a senior staff member, David coordinated public and community relations efforts that paved the way for governmental approval of an innovative but controversial cogeneration power plant (MATEP) in the Longwood Medical Area of Boston.
As Director of Governmental Public Relations, he initiated and supervised the first study of Harvard’s positive economic impact on the City of Cambridge, which contributed to the university’s successful effort to block imposition of greater in-lieu-of-tax payments. He also coordinated media relations for the Harvard subsidiary that managed the university’s substantial non-academic real estate holdings.
David is the most experienced, thoughtful and thorough public affairs professional I know, including some very high-priced consultants in private practice. He is a person of the utmost integrity and can address audiences of almost any size and sophistication. He is very sensitive to the nuances of how messages should be delivered to constituencies inside and outside of the organization. Dave is a team player.
former Director of Planning, Harvard University and former Vice President for Administration and Finance, Emerson College