Cecil steps down as director of Elliott School

Grant Cohen

As soon as Matthew Cecil stepped onto the Wichita State campus, he had a vision for the Elliott School of Communication. 

Since 2013, he envisioned the communication’s program to become nationally known and give opportunities to students so they have the experience when they graduate. 

“(The faculty) was very impressed when he interviewed for the position,” said Jeffrey Jarman, associate Elliott School director. “We were excited about what he was going to do in his new position.”

Cecil has helped the Elliott School pursue multiple accomplishments, including the establishment of the Ad Astra Communication Agency and the Center for Excellence in Oral Communication. 

After three years of serving as the Elliott School director at WSU, Cecil has accepted a new position at Minnesota State University. An alumnus of MSU with a master’s degree in history, Cecil will be the new Dean of the College of Arts and Humanities in Mankato, Minnesota. 

Cecil’s new position starts July 1. 

“I have always wanted to move into a dean’s position,” Cecil said. “(Minnesota State) appealed to me because it is a place that I am familiar with, and it is close to home.”

A native of Brookings, South Dakota, Cecil worked seven years in the media, working for daily newspapers, political campaigns and in corporate media relations. 

He worked for the University of Oklahoma and Purdue before taking an associate director and professor position at South Dakota State, where he had earned his bachelor’s degree in history. 

Once arriving on the WSU campus, Cecil helped establish more hands-on projects for students, expanding on experimental learning classes such as the Flint Hills Media Project, Studio B and the Sports Multimedia Project.  

Along with adding a laptop requirement for all ESC students, Cecil was instrumental in changing the curriculum and requirements in order to make it easier for students to be admitted into the program. 

“In my experience, Dr. Cecil has been hugely supportive of efforts in the Elliott School that are carried out with passion and purpose,” said Michelle Dreiling, Elliott School faculty member. “He genuinely cares about the faculty, and wants us to fulfill our potential.”

Cecil was not only involved working with the faculty of the ESC but engaging with the students as well. He taught a mass communication and Society course during his three-year tenure as director. 

“I enjoy facilitating other people’s successes,” Cecil said. “That is important in administration and it is important to me to give (the students) an opportunity to be successful.”

Confident with how the ESC has evolved since his arrival, Cecil said he knows the school is in excellent hands, and it will continue to produce successful students.  

“When you start thinking about the great things in Wichita, it makes it tough to leave,” Cecil said. “This is a great job that anybody would be happy to have. I work with wonderful people, and the Elliott School is as good as it can be for the size of the university. You do not see programs like this.”