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Crystal Bridges Announces New Developments in Museum Relations: Deputy Director Edwards Receives Honorary Doctorate; Carroll Named Director of Communications

Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Ark., announces new developments in the Museum Relations division:

Deputy Director Sandra Keiser Edwards, Museum Relations Department Head, to Receive Honorary Doctorate:

Sandra Keiser Edwards, deputy director of Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, will receive the Western Illinois University Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters at Western’s spring 2014 commencement exercises Saturday, May 10. The Honorary Doctorate is the highest award Western Illinois University can bestow upon an individual who has made significant contributions to his/her career and to Western Illinois University.

Keiser Edwards, a 1974 College Student Personnel master’s degree graduate, has been a key member of the Crystal Bridges leadership team since 2007, helping oversee the founding of the museum, as well as its construction and successful opening in November 2011. Since that time, the museum has welcomed more than 1.2 million visitors, with Keiser Edwards serving in the pivotal role of deputy director. Keiser Edwards continues to be a guiding force in establishing this institution, creating and growing connections to bring increased tourism to the area, as well as offering museum visitors unparalleled arts, cultural and educational experiences.

Previously, Keiser Edwards served as the associate vice chancellor for development at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville for nine years. She and her late husband, Clay Edwards, helped direct the university’s groundbreaking Campaign for the Twenty-First Century, a significant initiative that raised more than $1 billion for academic programs, including the founding of an honors college and endowing the graduate school. In 2007, Keiser Edwards was made an honorary alumna of the university by the Arkansas Alumni Association.

She has also served as director of development (outreach and cooperative extension) and director of station development (public broadcasting) at The Pennsylvania State University, posts she held from 1988 to 1998. She created the first comprehensive advancement program in the field of continuing and distance education at a public university, and was part of the management team that created Penn State’s World Campus, a virtual university for students at a distance from the physical location. As a result of these achievements, the university awarded Keiser Edwards the Outreach Pioneer Award.

“Sandy’s contributions to the arts, philanthropy, and higher education, as well as her support of Western Illinois University, are much-admired and appreciated. It is with great pride that we bestow upon Ms. Keiser Edwards an honorary doctorate from her alma mater,” said WIU President Jack Thomas.

Keiser Edwards received Western’s Alumni Achievement Award in 1993 and the WIU Distinguished Alumni Award in 2006. She currently serves as a member of the College of Fine Arts and Communication (COFAC) Advisory Board.

Keiser Edwards holds a bachelor’s degree from Lenoir-Rhyne College in Hickory, NC, where she served on the board of trustees from 1978-1986.

Diane Carroll Named Director of Communications:

Crystal Bridges has promoted Diane Carroll, former media relations manager, to director of communications. Carroll, who has more than two decades of experience as a communications professional, joined Crystal Bridges in July, 2012, overseeing the museum’s public relations activities and generating visibility in a wide range of media for the museum and its exhibitions, collection, programs, services, and facilities.

“Since joining Crystal Bridges, Diane has been invaluable as a communications expert on a regional and national level as well as a key strategist in the creation and implementation of successful media campaigns,” said Sandy Edwards, museum deputy director. “Throughout her tenure, she has proven to be an effective leader and team member in both our Communications team and our Museum Relations department.”

As director of communications, Carroll will oversee the museum’s creative services, digital media, and media relations teams. Prior to joining Crystal Bridges, Carroll was editor in chief of Little Rock-based At Home in Arkansas, a division of Network Communications, Inc. of Norcross, Georgia. In this role, Carroll directed all editorial aspects of print and online publications, including web site, e-newsletter, blog and social media development.

Previously, Carroll was a regional editor for Hachette Filipacchi Media and Meredith Publications, Inc., based first in Dallas, Texas and later in Fayetteville, Ark., charged with developing and marketing story concepts as well as managing production and photography for national publications focused on art, architecture, design and landscape. Carroll also worked previously in account service for an Omnicom Group agency in San Francisco. She holds a bachelor of arts degree in communications from University of Dayton in Dayton, Ohio.