The critical role of communication is usually overlooked by higher education institutions. Here we argue that higher education institutions must consider an effective communication as one of their top priorities. This communication must go well beyond promoting the university’s opportunities to potential new students, the pursuit of potential donors and outreach to policymakers: it must engage all aspects of internal academic life and seek the engagement of the larger society. Increasingly, higher education has to defend its purpose, integrity and legitimacy in a climate of growing neo-nationalist and populist movements. A comprehensive communication plan includes a deep revision of the University core values and practices, better teaching and learning strategies, as well as modern internal and external communication tools, including all sorts of social media.