October 28, 2020

Purdue Marketing senior VP is AMA’s Higher Ed Marketer of the Year

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — R. Ethan Braden, Purdue University’s senior vice president of marketing and communications, has been named the 2020 Higher Education Marketer of the Year by the American Marketing Association.

The honor, which recognizes extraordinary leadership and achievement in the field of higher education, will be awarded during the organization’s inaugural virtual Symposium for the Marketing of Higher Education on Nov. 16-19 via Zoom. Registration is open to the public.

braden-e20 R. Ethan Braden

Braden leads a marketing and communications community of more than 300 individuals in the persistent pursuit of the next giant leap by passionately positioning, promoting, and preserving the Purdue University brand worldwide. Purdue was recently ranked the No. 5 most innovative school in the United States by U.S. News & World Report.

In January, Braden and his team successfully launched an evolved brand platform, called “The Next Giant Leap,” (video here) to cultivate compelling and consistent marketing and communications to all Purdue University audiences moving forward. 

Braden also is leading the communications aspect of the Protect Purdue Plan, an ongoing strategy that began last spring to bring students, faculty and staff back to campus safely this fall amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The vast communication efforts included, among other things, direct contact with students and their families, social media, traditional media and the building of the comprehensive Protect Purdue website, which continues to be updated routinely with the newest information. Under Braden’s direction, Purdue Marketing and Communications developed the Protect Purdue Ambassador program, made up of 200-plus Purdue students, to provide peer encouragement and align the entire student body with the Protect Purdue Pledge.

“This award is tremendously humbling and appreciated, a symbol of so many Boilermakers and partners living our brand and marketing Purdue University with the discipline, care and excellence that it deserves,” Braden said.


Before coming to Purdue in November 2018, Braden worked for Eli Lilly and Co., where he served in a variety of senior marketing and sales leadership roles in the U.S. and globally, managing some of Lilly’s and the pharmaceutical industry’s most successful, life-changing brands. Braden earned his Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Notre Dame and his bachelor’s degree in economics and Spanish from Willamette University in Salem, Oregon.

Purdue’s central marketing team also is one of three finalists for the AMA’s Marketing Team of the Year award. The award honors extraordinary leadership and achievement in higher education marketing. The AMA cites the Purdue team’s restructuring to focus on brand management, strategy and execution, including digital engagement and research. The marketing and communications team worked with the 30-person Brand Council and 200-plus communicators across Purdue to create one universitywide voice and align strategies.

New York University and Simon Fraser University are the two others finalists for the Team of the Year award. The winner will be decided by a vote of conference attendees on Nov. 19.

About Purdue University

Purdue University is a top public research institution developing practical solutions to today’s toughest challenges. Ranked the No. 5 Most Innovative University in the United States by U.S. News & World Report, Purdue delivers world-changing research and out-of-this-world discovery. Committed to hands-on and online, real-world learning, Purdue offers a transformative education to all. Committed to affordability and accessibility, Purdue has frozen tuition and most fees at 2012-13 levels, enabling more students than ever to graduate debt-free. See how Purdue never stops in the persistent pursuit of the next giant leap at https://purdue.edu/.

Writer: Makenna Fitzgerald 

Media contact: Jim Bush, 765-336-1909, jsbush@purdue.edu 

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