UCR Has New Leader for Governmental and Community Relations

A UC Riverside alumna comes home

Elizabeth Romero, assistant vice chancellor of Government and Community Relations. ucr file

Elizabeth Romero, a UC Riverside alumna, is the new assistant vice chancellor for the Office of Governmental and Community Relations. She started Oct. 10, replacing Sue McKee, who retired last June after 24 years of service to the campus.

“As assistant vice chancellor, Elizabeth will be our primary advocate to a variety of community constituencies and to all levels of government,” Chancellor Kim A. Wilcox said in a campuswide memo announcing her arrival.

The department’s primary role is to “advocate for public higher education by connecting with all levels of government and by strengthening our partnerships with diverse civic organizations and community members,” Romero said. UCR is the largest employer in the city of Riverside and the 10th largest in the region, with a $1.4 billion economic impact in California.

As assistant vice chancellor, she will promote higher education, seeking public policy that benefits UCR and all of public higher education.

Romero earned her undergraduate degree in political science and public service at UCR and a master’s in politics, economics and business from Claremont Graduate University.

She is the daughter of immigrants from México and El Salvador, she grew up in the Coachella Valley, and she was the first in her family to graduate from college.

“Every day that I step onto campus, I am grateful to serve as the new assistant vice chancellor of Governmental and Community Relations,” she said. “UCR had a profound impact on my life as a first-generation college graduate.” She said she was glad to see the same dedication to the student experience that she noted from her own student days.

Before joining UCR, Romero was the director of Community and Government Relations for Planned Parenthood of the Pacific Southwest in Riverside County. She also managed the Building Healthy Communities Initiative in the Eastern Coachella Valley, a 10-year, multi-million dollar initiative funded by The California Endowment. In the past, Romero  also worked for Desert Arc, University Center for Developmental Disabilities, and she served as a legislative assistant to Riverside County Supervisors Roy Wilson and John J. Benoit.

Romero is an alumna of the Hispanas Organized for Political Equality (HOPE) Leadership Institute and Women’s Policy Institute sponsored by the Women’s Foundation of California. She also serves on the Board of Directors of the Desert Regional Medical Center and Children’s Discovery Museum of the Desert.

The search committee, chaired by Vice Chancellor James Sandoval, relied on input from a broad cross section of the campus, including students, staff, and faculty. The search committee included: UC Irvine’s AVC for Governmental and Community Relations Kate Klimow; UCR alumnus Brian Hawley; and UCR staff members Rebeccah Goldware, Angel Rodriguez, and Esperanza Steward.

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