B. Jay Cooper, Deputy Press Secretary for Presidents Reagan and Bush, Named to Head Yale University's Public Affairs
Yale University President Richard C. Levin today announced the appointment of B. Jay Cooper, a veteran Connecticut journalist and deputy White House press secretary during the Reagan and Bush Administrations, as director of Yale’s Office of Public Affairs and his special assistant.
“I am delighted that someone with Mr. Cooper’s national stature and local roots is joining Yale to direct our public affairs,” President Levin said. “He brings a wealth of public- and private-sector communications experience to the position that will serve Yale exceedingly well. Mr. Cooper is ideally suited to advise the officers and deans about ways to strengthen Yale’s communications efforts that were advanced so ably by Gary Fryer.”
Mr. Cooper succeeds Gary G. Fryer, press secretary and counselor to Governor Mario Cuomo of New York for many years. Mr. Fryer, who came to Yale in 1994, died in January of cancer.
“I am looking forward to coming home to Connecticut to serve one of the great universities in the world,” Mr. Cooper said. “Yale is doing very exciting things academically and within the New Haven community, and I look forward to making a contribution to those efforts.”
Linda Koch Lorimer, vice president and secretary of Yale, who conducted the national search and is the Yale officer responsible for public affairs, said: “B. Jay has done it all – deputy at the White House, press secretary for a cabinet member, strategic communications counselor for major institutions, and a member of the Connecticut press corps for almost a decade. But as impressive as his prior experiences are, it was his personal attributes that drew us to him. He has an impeccable reputation for integrity, he enjoys working with the press, and he has been a trusted and thoughtful counselor.”
Mr. Cooper will be responsible for directing all of Yale’s news media relations and for advising the President and officers about communications issues more generally. In addition, he will oversee the Yale Bulletin & Calendar’s reporting of University events and programs, and will direct the Poynter Fellowship Program, which brings distinguished journalists to the Yale campus.
A native of Waterbury, Connecticut, he attended public schools there and holds a bachelor of arts degree in journalism from Northeastern University in Boston. He worked as a reporter and an editor for nearly 10 years at the Waterbury Republican-American, where he served as chief political reporter and columnist before beginning a career in government and politics.
Mr. Cooper, 47, also worked as director of research on the 1978 Ronald A. Sarasin for Governor campaign in Connecticut, and was director of communications for the 1980 Reagan-Bush Campaign in Connecticut. He served as director of communications for the Republican National Committee from 1989 to 1993.
Governor Rowland, who has known B. Jay for more than 30 years, said, “Yale and Connecticut are fortunate to gain someone of B. Jay’s talents and human qualities. He is a pro. It will be great to have him home in Connecticut.”
Mr. Cooper began his Washington career in 1981 as chief speech writer at the U.S. Department of Commerce to the late Secretary Malcolm Baldrige, and then served as the department’s Director of Public Affairs. In 1987, he became deputy White House press secretary to Marlin Fitzwater during President Ronald Reagan’s second term, and stayed on in the same role after President George Bush was elected in 1988. As deputy press secretary, he was responsible for working with the news media on all issues relating to the country’s domestic policy.
Currently a senior vice president for APCO Associates Inc., a Washington, D.C.-based public affairs and communications firm, Mr. Cooper will begin his duties at Yale in September. Thomas Conroy, who has been deputy director of the Office of Public Affairs, will continue in that capacity.
Mr. Cooper has three daughters and two grandchildren.
Note to Editors: For a photo of Mr. Cooper, please call 203/432-1333. For comments, please contact Vice President and Secretary of Yale University Linda K. Lorimer, 203/432-2321 office , or 203/430-4540 cellular after 5 p.m.; Marlin Fitzwater, former Press Secretary to President George Bush and B. Jay Cooper’s supervisor at the White House, 410/867-8734 home ; or B. Jay Cooper, 203/432-1345 office , on Aug. 4-5, and later at 202/778-1013 office .