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Robert O'Donahue

Marketing Manager & Media Relations Director

Biography: Rob is known by most as “Rob O.” He has been at NNU for nearly two decades, working primarily in the Marketing Department. Before his time at NNU, he worked in the health and fitness industry as a sales and marketing associate, activities coordinator and manager of multiple clubs in Washington and Idaho. He grew up in Kennewick, Washington, attended Columbia Basin College for one year, then Dana College in Blair, Nebraska. He earned a bachelor’s degree in Recreation—or “organized fun,” as he calls it—22 years later when he finally finished his degree. A friend invited Rob to come work for NNU, where his wife Gayle worked as the Director of Marketing and Communications. He has worked with almost every department on campus and his fingerprints are in every building. He has announced both men’s and women’s basketball games, getting a front-row seat at games in the GNAC. Rob loves telling the story of NNU, of those who work and attend here and those who have made an impact on NNU and the NNU community. Not only does he enjoy marketing, but he also enjoys working with local media partners as the Director of Media Relations. As an NNU Account Manager, Rob works with external-facing partners across campus—Center for Professional Development, Alumni and Athletics—and as NNU’s Media Relations Director, he works directly with local community media partners. Rob collaborates with all his partners to communicate with constituents, prospective students, community leaders and alumni.

“In my job, I get to learn about the amazing things our students and professors are doing and find ways to tell it to those outside of NNU,” Rob said. “I love pitching stories to the media so more people can know what a great place NNU is and continues to be.”

Rob has two beautiful daughters, Leslie (Gangwer), married to Ben, who both graduated from NNU in 2016, and Robyn, who finished her degree in Social Work in 2020. He just welcomed his first granddaughter, Flo, into the world. Rob’s home has become a home-away-from-home for many NNU students because of his daughters and his support of the music department (Northwesterners) and the athletic department. They enjoy opening their home as an example of the NNU community and family. Students always know they have a place to hang out and get a home-cooked meal. If you need to get a hold of Rob, come visit him in the Helstrom building, first floor!

Fun Fact: My college closed in 2009 and I consider NNU my school now (I did take six credits here).

Favorite Thing About Working at NNU: Being able to work with all departments across campus and announcing the Women’s basketball online.