Campus Life

Texas A&M University Welcomes New Vice President And Chief Marketing and Communications Officer

Communications strategist R. Ethan Braden brings experience in elevating brands of academic institutions.
By Texas A&M University Division of Marketing and Communications November 1, 2023

A portrait of a man sitting at a desk.
R. Ethan Braden has been named vice president and chief marketing and communications officer for Texas A&M University.

Purdue University

Texas A&M University Interim President Mark A. Welsh III announced Wednesday that brand strategist R. Ethan Braden has been appointed to serve as vice president and chief marketing and communications officer.

Braden will make the move from Purdue University in Indiana where he served in leadership positions for the past five years, half of which were spent as executive vice president, as well as chief marketing and communications officer for both Purdue and its online university for working adults, Purdue Global.

In an email sent to students, faculty and staff, Welsh said he looks forward to working with Braden to develop a “collaborative vision that will best serve A&M, our mission and our students for years to come.”

“Ethan will leverage his skills and extensive experience to amplify the university’s national prominence and to help us further promote the incredible things happening across our campuses each day,” Welsh wrote to the Aggie community.

Braden brings to Texas A&M a track record of successfully enhancing the reputation not just of an academic institution, but also recognition in the corporate realm, including when he worked in leadership positions for more than 10 years at Eli Lilly and Co.

“I’ve loved my time at Purdue University, including the award-winning marketing team we’ve built and amazing work it has contributed,” Braden said. “I strive to build brands and teams that people love and trust. And you only want to choose new opportunities where there is great leadership, culture and lots of clay to mold something beautiful. As my family and I embark on our next adventure, nowhere has more potential ‘clay’ than Texas A&M today, with its iconic brand, avid Aggie alumni and fan base, and General Welsh as leader.”

In his various positions, Braden played a pivotal role in orchestrating marketing and communication strategies that propelled the entities for which he worked into the national spotlight. Among a few of his accolades:

  • Last month, Braden was named Content Marketer of the Year by Content Marketing Institute, while his team was a finalist for a two-minute video showcasing the lifetime of educational opportunities available to students and garnering more than 29 million views on YouTube in the last 11 months.
  • Purdue University has been named one of Fast Company magazine’s Brands That Matter for three years in a row, the only university on the list with renowned brands such as Nike, McDonald’s, Ford, 3M and YETI, a recognition for companies and organizations that “authentically communicate their mission and ideals and give people compelling reasons to care about them.”
  • As a result of growing brand awareness and recognition over the last five years, Purdue University was recently ranked the No. 10 most prominent and recognized university worldwide in the Global University Visibility (GUV) rankings, ahead of institutions such as the University of Cambridge, Yale University and UCLA, and No. 3 among U.S. public universities.
  • In 2020, Braden was named Marketer of the Year for Higher Education by the American Marketing Association (AMA). That same year, Braden’s team was named Marketing Team of the Year for Higher Education by the AMA.

Welsh said one of Braden’s first tasks will be to quickly get up to speed on the marketing and communications centralization efforts to date and the recommendations from the quick-look assessment.

That 44-page review examined a massive realignment of academic programs and units, as well as the restructuring of operational functions, all of which were initiated two years ago by A&M’s previous administration.

Building teams on the virtues of empowerment, optimism, excellence and respect is a guiding principle for Braden, who said: “We go first, always believing we can and are charged to enact positive impact and change. We deliver outstanding, emotion-filled work. And we will do it all with care for ourselves, each other, our colleagues, partners, audiences, brand and institution.”

Braden also has experience in the classroom: He teaches personal branding to Division I student-athletes in Purdue’s Optimizing Personal Brand and Image class, which is a partnership between Purdue’s Mitch Daniels School of Business and Purdue Athletics to proactively equip students to navigate new NCAA rules that allow them to profit from their name, image and likeness (NIL).

Braden graduated from Willamette University with a Bachelor of Arts in economics and Spanish. He earned his MBA from the University of Notre Dame.

Media contact: Division of Marketing and Communications,

Related Stories

Recent Stories