Public Affairs and Government Relations Staff

Michael J. Schoenfeld
Michael J. Schoenfeld - Vice President for Public Affairs and Government Relations
Phone: (919) 681 3788
Schoenfeld oversees communications and advocacy efforts for the university and medical center and serves as Duke’s chief spokesperson.
Full Bio

Michele Wittman
Michele M. Wittman - Executive Assistant
Phone: (919) 681-3788
Fax: (919) 681-8919

Senior Staff

Kristen Brown - Associate Vice President for University Communications
(919) 684-2823
University Communications
Carolyn Gerber - Special Assistant to the Vice President for Public Affairs and Government Relations
(919) 681-8067
Chris Simmons - Associate Vice President for Government Relations
(919) 668-6270
Office of Government Relations
Doug Heron - Associate Vice President for State Relations
(919) 416-8923
Office of State Relations
Catherine Liao - Associate Vice President for Duke Health Government Relations
(919) 416-8913
Duke Health Government Relations
Anne Light - Director of Finance and Operations
(919) 684-5590


Michael J. Schoenfeld oversees communications and advocacy for the university and medical center, leads the university’s Washington, DC, center, and serves as Duke’s chief spokesperson. He is also a visiting professor of the practice at the Sanford School of Public Policy, where he teaches a course on media and politics.

As the university’s chief external affairs officer, Schoenfeld directs Duke’s local, regional, national and global communications, leads federal, state and local advocacy efforts, counsels the president and trustees, represents the university to a wide range of constituencies, and oversees crisis and issues management. Schoenfeld is also co-founder and chairman of Futurity (, a multimedia consortium of more than 60 leading research universities from the U.S., Canada, the U.K. and Australia.

Schoenfeld previously served as vice chancellor for public affairs at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN, from 1997-2008. Earlier, he was senior vice president for policy and public affairs at the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) in Washington, D.C. He also held reporting and leadership positions at the Voice of America, including news and sports anchor, Congressional liaison officer, and executive assistant to the director, and served as the first director of program development at Worldnet, the U.S. Information Agency’s global satellite television network.

Schoenfeld is a member of The Seminar, the Arthur W. Page Society, the National Press Club, the Public Diplomacy Council and the Association of American Universities Public Affairs Committee. He is vice chairman of WUNC-North Carolina Public Radio, vice chairman of Hirondelle USA, secretary of The Triangle Community Foundation, vice chair for aviation of the Regional Transportation Alliance and serves on the boards of the Durham Chamber of Commerce (where he is past chairman), the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (Midsouth) and PineCone: The Piedmont Council for Traditional Music.

A 1984 Duke graduate, Schoenfeld received a master’s degree in public policy from Stony Brook University in 1986. He and his wife Elizabeth, a writer and editor, live in Durham.

Michele Wittman provides the Vice President of Public Affairs and Government Relations with administrative and event management support; manages the day-to-day calendar and travel needs for the Vice President; manages daily operational and administrative activities for the Office of Public Affairs and Government Relations (PAGR); and serves as the main point of contact for the PAGR office. Previous experience includes 6 years with the Duke Nicholas School of The Environment as Development Program Coordinator & Office Manager, 2 years as outside event coordinator for the Duke Comprehensive Cancer Center and Duke Liver Center, and 2 years as banquet manager with the Washington Duke Inn & Golf Club. Michele is a graduate of Kutztown University in Kutztown, Pennsylvania.