communication skills, leadership, crisis communication, presidential voice, message crafting


University presidents engage in formal and informal communicationthrough multiple modes of communication. While scholars have studied the content and motivations behind presidential communication, this study provides insight into the process that university presidents engage in when crafting public statements. Utilizing interviews with presidents (8) and vice-presidents of communication (4) at U.S. flagship universities, we employ the cognitive process writing theory to develop a process model of presidential communication,while highlighting how presidents describe their experiences crafting communication. Results highlight thepresident’sperception of theirroleas instigator of communication, the involvementof other senior leaders (e.g., legal counsel, chief of staff, etc.), andinsight into thecomplex process of creating presidential communications. Implications include the need for presidents to develop their own formal communication process, the importance of being intentional with who communicates, and the need to develop communication teams to craft messages.