Marquette community engagement leader appointed to International Town and Gown Association board

Kelsey Otero, senior director of community engagement in the Office of University Relations, was appointed to the board of directors for the International Town and Gown Association at the organization’s annual meeting, June 8, in Fort Collins, Colorado.

Otero joins the 16-member board of the only global nonprofit organization focused on the dynamic between colleges and their host communities.

“This is a great opportunity for Kelsey to grow in her role as our chief engagement officer at Marquette and promote the special relationship the university shares with its community partners on a national level,” said Rana Altenburg, associate vice president for public affairs. “ITGA has been a wonderful platform for us to share Marquette’s story and best practices when it comes to our valuable partnerships with community organizations such as Near West Side Partners and Milwaukee as a whole.”

Otero has been a visible ambassador in the community throughout her career at Marquette. She served as director of innovation in Marquette’s 707 Hub since she co-launched the space in 2017. With the 707 Hub, she ran business bootcamps for community entrepreneurs and worked to build the social innovation ecosystem in Wisconsin. In addition, she has served as co-chair of the Near West Side Commercial Corridor Working Team, volunteered on the Fund Milwaukee board and run the popular Rev-Up MKE business pitch competition for Near West Side Partners.

Otero was chosen to the Anchor Fellows Program with the Anchor Institutions Task Force in October 2022 and joined the Office of University Relations as senior director of community engagement in January 2023.

“I am interested in joining the ITGA board of directors because it is an organization that is both university and community centric,” Otero said. “ITGA’s mission closely aligns with my professional interests. I have spent the last eight years working to build unique university-community partnerships and welcome the opportunity to support this work on a larger scale.”

Founded in 2008 and based in Clemson, South Carolina, the ITGA offers members resources, education, networking and solutions to the challenges, emerging issues and unique opportunities found in town and gown relationships. Its members are a diverse group of higher education administrators, elected officials, community groups and campus neighbors who collaborate on issues such as economic development, sustainability, housing, diversity and inclusion, quality of life, and civic engagement.