Beth Egan named co-director of Newhouse’s W2O Center for Social Commerce

Beth Egan

Beth Egan, associate professor of advertising at the Newhouse School, has been named co-director of the W2O Center for Social Commerce, Newhouse dean Mark J. Lodato announced today. A 25-year veteran of the media industry, Egan joined the Newhouse School in 2013.

“Beth’s passion for our students, combined with her industry experience, make her a great match for the innovative work of the W2O Center for Social Commerce,” Lodato says. “She understands the value of students from different departments working together, and will be able to build upon Professor Maria Russell’s legacy.”

The W2O Center for Social Commerce was established in 2012 as a partnership between the Newhouse School and integrated communications firm W2O Group. Supported by gifts from alumnus Jim Weiss ‘87, W2O Group founder and CEO, and his wife Audra Weiss ’89, the center aims to provide students with skills in social commerce, social media, technology and analytics. Since its founding, the center has hosted communications leaders from major U.S. corporations to share their insights with students; sponsored W2O Group staff experts for classroom presentations; trained students and faculty in hands-on analytics workshops; and offered paid summer internships in New York City. The center also supports the Student Ambassadors program

Maria Russell, professor emerita of public relations, served as the center’s first co-director with Gary Grates G’99, principal at W2O Group. Grates will continue as co-director with Egan.  

“The W2O Center for Social Commerce has been a place of education and innovation in the social space since its inception,” Egan says. “Maria Russell and Gary Grates spearheaded the generous commitment from Jim and Audra Weiss to help Newhouse students grow and learn in real time through the evolution of social media. As the only medium that truly plays in the paid, owned, shared and earned space, social media is relevant across all disciplines at the school.”

W2O Group also supports the W2O Emerging Insights Lab (EIL), established at the Newhouse School last year. The state-of-the-art social media command center serves as a central hub for the interfacing of digital media monitored and studied by students throughout the Newhouse School.

“This moment is a great opportunity to continue to educate our students, our faculty and the communities we serve. With the opening of the Emerging Insights Lab, we have a space for hands-on learning and opportunities for world-class research in the social space,” Egan says.

“As marketing and advertising have become more data-driven, combined with the democratization of knowledge and connectivity, Beth Egan is the ideal person to take the co-director reins to expand the reach and relevance of the center as we prepare for the next phase of growth and success,” Weiss says. “After a decade under Maria Russell, when the center reached thousands of students, won awards and set the standard for academic-industry partnership, our partnership with Newhouse promises to lead the way in innovation and inventiveness in a digital-first world.”