By: Karina Valdes

USA TODAY has named University of Miami School of Communication alumna Maribel Perez Wadsworth, B.S.C. ’93, as its publisher. This makes Perez Wadsworth, a Cuban-American, the first person of color to serve as the publication’s publisher. Wadsworth is the second woman to hold this position.

“I’m proud and humbled that a daughter of immigrants of modest means has had an opportunity to rise to a position of leadership and influence in my industry. I am very grateful,” says Perez Wadsworth.

Perez Wadsworth will remain president of the USA TODAY NETWORK, a title she’s held for 6 months. She has served as USA TODAY’s associate publisher since November 2017. Formerly, she served as Gannett’s chief transformation officer (2016) and chief strategy officer (2015). The USA TODAY Network, owned by Gannett, is comprised of USA TODAY, 109 local news brands including The Indianapolis Star, the Detroit Free Press and the Arizona Republic in Phoenix, as well as a number of niche sports and lifestyle digital brands.

“I’m blessed to work for a company with a strong commitment to diversity. In fact, both division presidents (I am one), our chief financial officer and chief legal officer all are women, says Perez Wadsworth.

More than a third of Gannett’s leadership team are women including Sharon Rowlands, president of USA Today Network marketing solutions and CEO of ReachLocal, Alison Engel, chief financial officer and treasurer, and Barbara Wall, chief legal officer.

“Leading with diversity is important in all business, but perhaps especially in journalism where diverse perspectives and life experience are key to delivering accurate, fair, and comprehensive coverage of the communities we serve,” she added.

A native of Miami, Perez Wadsworth graduated from the School of Communication with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. She credits her SoC professors and the opportunities she had to work in the industry for contributing to her professional success.

“My professors were fabulous — award-winning professionals with tons of real-life experience. They were tough, but nurturing also. They taught me so much and helped me to grow in confidence and step out of my comfort zone,” says Perez Wadsworth.

Through her involvement with the SoC Visiting Committee, Perez Wadsworth regularly advises the school’s leadership regarding its strategic goals and program accomplishments. She and her husband, Chris, who is also an SoC alum, are proud supporters of the Koenigsberg and Nadal Interactive Media Center.

“I couldn’t be more proud of Maribel and her accomplishments,” says Gregory J. Shepherd, dean of the School of Communication. “She is a shining star and a great alumna and friend of the school.”