Vice President for Communications
Alfred Ironside was appointed vice president for communications at MIT in February 2020. He serves as chief communications officer for the Institute and advises the president and other senior leaders on the most effective ways to support and promote MIT’s work and its reputation around the world.
Before joining MIT, Ironside served as vice president for global communications at the Ford Foundation, one of the world’s largest and most accomplished philanthropies. In that role, he oversaw the foundation’s executive communications, messaging, strategic partnerships, and public affairs. Previously, he served the Ford Foundation as director of strategic communications. In more than 14 years with the foundation, he helped transform it into one of the most visible and influential voices for social justice in the United States.
Prior to his work at the Ford Foundation, he served as chief of media relations for UNICEF. Traveling to more than 40 countries, he acted as the United Nations’ spokesman on issues affecting children and women amidst conflict and natural disaster. Earlier, he spent three years in the US Diplomatic Service as a press officer in East Berlin, where he won commendation for his work during the Berlin Wall crisis, and four years as a spokesman with the American Red Cross.
Ironside began his career as a news reporter at radio stations in and around Indianapolis and Philadelphia. In the early 1990s, he helped launch the first Western advertising agency in Bulgaria and served as its managing director. He was later a member of the editorial team that launched the English edition of Ha’aretz, Israel’s leading newspaper, in conjunction with the International Herald-Tribune.
A native of Philadelphia, Ironside holds degrees in both political science and journalism from Butler University in Indianapolis, and a master’s in media administration from the Newhouse School and the Graduate School of Business at Syracuse University.