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Sarah Kidwell to Lead Public Affairs and Strategic Communications

Sarah Kidwell headshot (Vallejo, California – August 13, 2020) – Sarah Kidwell has been appointed as senior director of public affairs and strategic communications at California State University Maritime Academy. The announcement was made by Cal Maritime Vice President for University Advancement Bob Arp following a four month national search that yielded more than 65 qualified candidates.

Ms. Kidwell, currently an independent communications consultant, has broad and deep experience in nonprofit and education communications as well as a long career as a television journalist. She will assume her new role at Cal Maritime on August 17, 2020, just as the academic year school year commences.

“We are delighted to welcome Ms. Kidwell to Cal Maritime,” said Vice President Arp. “Her skills and experience as both a storyteller and a crisis communicator will serve us well during the current challenges of COVID-19 and beyond, as we pursue greater local and national visibility for our program,” he added.

“I first visited Cal Maritime while touring colleges with my son,” said Ms. Kidwell. “I was immediately inspired by what I saw – a mission-oriented institution that offers a practical, hands-on, and affordable education. I look forward to telling that story widely.”

Prior to working with her clients as a strategic communicator, Ms. Kidwell served as the communications and outreach director at La Casa de Maria Conference and Retreat Center in Santa Barbara and as the director of marketing and communications at Cate School in Carpinteria. Previously, she worked in Brown University’s public affairs and communications office, most recently as its director of news and communications. She spent more than a decade as a television news producer at CNN and NBC News, first in Washington, D.C. and then in New York.

As senior director of public affairs and strategic communications Ms. Kidwell will oversee advancing the reputation of a program which is continually ranked as one of the best public colleges in the western region and in the top third among all regional colleges by U.S. News and World Report. The U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard ranks Cal Maritime first among public California universities for graduate earnings 10 years after enrollment. The Academy is also one of only 15 four-year colleges in the U.S. that received a perfect score for “value added” to student outcomes in a recent study by the Brookings Institute.

Ms. Kidwell earned her AB from Princeton University and was a Knight Bagehot Journalism Fellow at Columbia University.


Established in 1929, California State University Maritime Academy is the only degree-granting maritime academy on the West Coast. Located in Vallejo, California, the campus serves approximately 1200 students and offers undergraduate degrees preparing students for careers in engineering, transportation, international relations, business, and global logistics. Cal Maritime also offers a master’s degree in Transportation and Engineering Management, as well as a number of extended learning programs and courses.

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Last updated: 8/27/20