New ASPIRE office at Miami will streamline connections with business, government and community partners

Randi Thomas to become inaugural vice president of ASPIRE


Randi Thomas

Miami University has established an office for advancing strategy, partnerships, institutional relations, and economy (ASPIRE) to streamline connections with partners in business, government and the community.

Randi Thomas, a Miami alumnus who has been director of institutional relations since 1999, will lead this office as the inaugural vice president.

“Expanding partnerships with external organizations will be integral to our future and a top priority in the COVID and post-COVID world,” Miami President Gregory Crawford said. “ASPIRE will be the focal point of that convergence of external organizations with Miami University.”

ASPIRE will build and expand on the work of the office of institutional relations and its government relations network, where students advocate for higher education and Miami University with state and federal officials in more than 500 visits a year.

ASPIRE is designed to create focus and advance visibility and reputation of university-wide strategic initiatives; provide a clearinghouse for external organizations that wish to engage a host of organizations, units, and activities on campus; increase university opportunities with industry; and boost local economic development and community relationships. It centralizes Miami’s efforts with external organizations and partnerships.

Thomas was an architect of the work+ program at Miami Regionals, which provides a debt-free education for students who work part-time at industry partners while they study. He also works with Ohio’s Inter-University Council of public higher education institutions.

“The creativity and efficiency from putting these activities together will accelerate in a powerful way what we’ve been doing for years as well as open up new opportunities,” Thomas said. “I am excited to see the impact this will have on Miami’s mission.”

Thomas graduated from Miami University in 1988. He received a master’s degree in speech communications at Miami in 1990 and graduated from the Vanderbilt School of Law in 1993.

“Randi is the ideal person to lead this new office with his broad skill set and experience, enterprising and transdisciplinary expertise, innovative and entrepreneurial mindset and unwavering dedication to Miami University,” Crawford said. “He is mission-driven and service-oriented.”