Campus Spokeswoman to Step Down
Ligeia Polidora: 'My identity is wrapped up in this job more than I thought'
February 12, 2004 1:18 PM
A significant change is in store for SF State’s Office of Public Relations.
Ligeia Polidora, public relations director for SF State, will step down from her 10-year position next week. While the decision to leave wasn’t an easy one, she felt it needed to be done.
“My identity is wrapped up in this job more than I thought,” said Polidora. “My husband and I just moved to Sonoma; I’d like to have some time to become more familiar with the area.”
Half-full moving boxes scatter her office floor. Papers are stacked high on her desk. Framed photographs of her two horses and 11-year-old golden retriever ornament her desk.
“I would definitely like to spend more time with Tess," she said of her golden retriever. “She has cancer and I would like to spend more time taking care of her.”
Polidora spent the bulk of her 10 years at SF State promoting the campus to outside media sources such as The San Francisco Chronicle. As a spokeswoman and representative for the university, she was also responsible for speaking to local media sources, should outside interests arise regarding campus activity.
“This has been a very exciting and challenging job for me,” said Polidora. “There is always something new going on, and there are always new issues coming up, so my job is not repetitive. It was varied enough to keep me engaged and interested."
As one of SF State’s main representatives, Polidora met and worked with many exciting people through the years. Polidora said one of the highlights of her career was to work with Geoff Marcy, a former SF State professor.
Marcy discovered planets outside our solar system in 1996 and was featured on BBC News, "The McNeil-Lehrer News Hour" and the NBC "Today Show." This was good publicity for both SF State and Polidora. The story made headlines. Polidora said she remembers Time magazine’s coverage of Marcy’s findings as a very big deal.
“I remember standing next to reporter Mike Leminick (of Time) when he called his editor to tell him that this story should be on the cover,” she said.
Polidora has seen a lot during her time with SF State. Some things were high points in her career, while others she’d rather forget. She said that having to deal with outside media about student tragedies, especially deaths on campus, was one of the hardest parts of her job.
“I remember hearing about a student who died right on the field during a tennis practice,” she said. “It was one of the hardest things that I ever had to deal with here.”
Through the years, Polidora had her work cut out for her to promote SF State. With world-renowned campuses such as UCSF, UC Berkeley and Stanford only miles away, it was tough to raise awareness of SF State. A proactive staff and diligence have pulled Polidora through times when publicity was scarce and the media was looking elsewhere for educational coverage.
Her dedicated often paid off.
“We’ve had reporters visit us from local newspapers (including the San Francisco Chronicle) to cover stories on our campus who were so impressed, that they wanted to take classes here,” she said.
John Burks, chair of the journalism department, described Polidora as “very professional” and “represented (SF State President Robert) Corrigan well.”
Jim Collier, vice president of university advancement and executive director of the SFSU Foundation, described Polidora as “bright, articulate and (knows) well how to make excellent use of the many tools and techniques available to practitioners in this field.”
Collier also said that Polidora was “the best he’s ever worked with in the public affairs area."
Polidora, who has a string of prior public relations positions to boast of, including a marketing position at Round Table Pizza, said that this is the first time in her life she has left a job position without something else lined up to replace it.
“It’s a bit frightening to leave and not know where I’m going,” said Polidora.
She does, however, plan to spend some time looking into volunteer work for either an animal adoption agency or the upcoming presidential campaign.
Overall, Polidora has enjoyed her time at SF State. She always felt at home working for the university, because she grew up in a teaching environment. Her father was a behavioral science professor for both the University of Wisconsin and UC Davis.
“You get the same intellectual stimulation as your students do without having to turn in any papers,” she said.
Collier said: “She has spent countless hours each year working with student journalists. She will be missed.”
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