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MSU alumnus Frank Tramble is Duke’s inaugural vice president for Communications, Marketing and Public Affairs.

Frank Tramble
Duke University
Frank Tramble

Michigan State University alumnus Frank Tramble is Duke University’s inaugural vice president for Communications, Marketing and Public Affairs.

Tramble describes his career path from MSU telemarketer going on “anthropological excursions” to stops at Georgetown and Howard on his way to Duke. He talks about why he chose MSU for college. And he shares his goals in his new position to meet the challenges and opportunities facing an “under attack” higher education system.

Conversation Highlights:

(3:52) – “And it was from that moment on I realized I gotta be a Spartan.”

(4:33) – “I started here as an MSU telemarketer, and I can say I have the skills to sell gutters to someone who doesn’t own a home. But I have to be connected to the mission.”

Frank Tramble in the MSU Audio Studios
Russ White | MSU Today
Frank Tramble in the MSU Audio Studios

(5:24) – “Early on, there was a divide at many universities where marketing was something very separate, or you may not have even done marketing and you really just worried about media. For me, that’s an intertwined world.”

(8:49) – “Higher education is in an interesting space now. It’s more under attack than you’d ever think, especially for an industry that just serves to educate.”

(12:33) – “I spend a lot of my time trying to welcome people into the problem, having that Spartan mentality that the more people in the room means we’ll find the right answer together.”

(16:55) – “You just have to stay calm. It’s when you panic and forget your training and why you’re doing what you’re doing and keeping that at the forefront of your mind that you make mistakes. While we can’t be perfect, staying calm and being able to manage under pressure is probably the most important piece of advice I could ever give.”

(17:35) – “The people on this campus I owe so much to for who I am today, why I do the things I do, how hard I go after the things I want – also the moral value I put into what I do.”

(19:31) – “I think the hardest thing for this generation is understanding you still have to pay your dues. The one thing you have to do is be comfortable being uncomfortable.”

(21:39) – “This place can create a future for you if you let it and embrace it.”

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