VanLandingham promoted to UofM Chief Government Relations and Policy Officer

Oct. 4, 2021  — Katie VanLandingham has been promoted to chief government relations and policy officer at the University of Memphis and will head the UofM’s Office of Government Relations and Policy. She has served as senior director of government relations and policy for the UofM’s Office of Economic Development and Government Relations since January 2020.

“We are very excited to announce that Katie will be leading the University’s government relations and policy activities for Memphis and Jackson,” said UofM President M. David Rudd. “During her two years with the UofM, Katie has worked successfully with state and local policy-makers and has been instrumental in helping us accomplish our policy and infrastructure goals.”

VanLandingham will lead the UofM’s government relations and policy efforts at the local, state and federal government levels. Her team will monitor and advocate legislation on higher education policy issues. She will also serve as a member of the President’s Council.

"I was thrilled when President Rudd approached me about the opportunity,” said VanLandingham. “UofM is a major part of the City I love. I believe when passion meets drive, advancement is the only possible outcome. I am incredibly passionate about my hometown and the ‘Driven by Doing’ message the University carries throughout our City, so I jumped at the opportunity to advance the University’s message on a state and federal level."

As the senior director of government relations and policy, VanLandingham handled direct lobbying and relationship-building with policymakers and staff, analyzing policies and coordinating legislative efforts for the University on the local, state and federal levels.

Prior to coming to the UofM, VanLandingham was a senior associate at JohnsonPossKirby Government Relations in Nashville. In that role, she worked with legislators, administration officials and personnel from various state departments on behalf of a broad range of business-related clients. During her time at JohnsonPossKirby, VanLandingham also handled all client management, including the firm’s ethics and campaign finance initiatives, PACs, registrations, expenditures and audit reports.

VanLandingham has also served as the executive director of the Tennessee Intercollegiate State Legislature, governing the board of the organization to ensure its financial stability. In coordination with corporate partners and collegiate leadership across the state, she ensured the organization’s mission was successfully carried out through strategic planning, programs and outreach.

A Memphis native, VanLandingham graduated from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. She was previously a board member for the Tennessee Lobbyist Association and collaborated with her colleagues to design and maintain the organization’s operating plan.

The University created the Office of Government Relations and Policy in 2018, and, since that time, it has guided the University in obtaining $45.9 million in public sector investments. 

State investments in the UofM include $32.9 million for the STEM Research & Classroom Building, $5 million for Carnegie R1 research support and $6 million for Sprague Hall at the UofM Lambuth Campus to allow for expansion of the College of Nursing. Shelby County’s Mike Rose Aquatic Center also received $2 million in local funding.

VanLandingham takes over for Ted Townsend, who has been named Chief Economic Development Officer of the Greater Memphis Chamber.