Former Vivendi Marketer Aims to Alter Academic Hue
Iris Gelt has left the fast track for an academic track.
The former vice president of external communications and public affairs at Vivendi Universal Entertainment, parent of Universal Studios, has become senior vice president of marketing and communications for the Art Center College of Design.
"Early in my career I taught public school," said Gelt, who started the newly created position on May 12. "I've always loved the academic environment."
Gelt handled media relations, public affairs, educational outreach and philanthropy efforts for Vivendi, which plans to sell off its entertainment assets (she said her decision to move on was not based on those sale plans).
The school "has a great reputation and is well known in the art and design world, but it's been referred to as the 'best kept secret' outside of that," said Gelt. She plans to apply her background to develop a communications strategy that will boost fund raising and recruiting efforts for the Art Center.
Her goal is to broaden awareness of the Art Center's offerings. "More than half the world's car designers are Art Center graduates," Gelt said. "They designed the PT Cruiser, the Porsche Boxster, they're at BMW and all the top car makers. Our graduates are also working in marketing, advertising and can be found all over the film and entertainment industry."
The Art Center plans a $13.5 million campus expansion in downtown Pasadena, including an exhibition hall and facilities that will house galleries and community art programs.
The new position was developed to help the Art Center redefine itself, and to increase enrollment, particularly from international students, by making the school more visible. "The challenge for me is to take what is the image of what we know is there and develop it into what can be," Gelt said.
As for her own artistic ability, Gelt admits it is limited. "I'm a great appreciator of art and museums, and I've studied art history, she said. "But I really wish I could paint. Maybe now I'll learn."
Gelt lives in Studio City with her two young adult children.
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