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Tuskegee University in Tuskegee, Alabama
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Date Posted 01/28/2020
Employment Type Fulltime
Application Deadline Open until filled

Tuskegee University (Tuskegee)—an icon of American higher education, the legendary home of World War II’s Tuskegee Airmen, the institutional legacy of Booker T. Washington, and one of the first private historically black universities in the nation—seeks an accomplished and entrepreneurial vice president for advancement (VP). The VP will join Tuskegee at a transformative time at the outset of President Lily McNair’s tenure, as a critical member of a new and energized university leadership team. Helping to shape a new era of leadership and excellence for this storied institution, the VP will create external development strategies and programs that maximize the engagement of its 23,000 alumni, parents, and friends with the university, and produce increasing levels of philanthropic support to further advance Tuskegee’s mission of providing world-class teaching, scholarship, and service.

Established in Tuskegee, Alabama in 1881 by Booker T. Washington, Tuskegee University has served as a beacon of educational excellence for nearly 140 years. One of the country’s oldest and foremost historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs), Tuskegee has distinct strengths in the sciences, agriculture, architecture/construction, business, education, engineering, and health sciences, all rooted in a rich liberal arts tradition. With a $124 million endowment and an operating budget of $129 million, the university enrolls approximately 3,050 students across five colleges and three schools. Tuskegee’s overarching mission is to educate all students—especially African-American women and men—to understand themselves and their global society against the backdrop of their rich cultural heritage and the promise of their individual and collective future.

Under the leadership of Dr. McNair, the university seeks to chart a bold and ambitious vision for its future, centered around student success, and is preparing to enter into comprehensive strategic planning, setting the foundation for a future campaign. As the institution identifies ways to evolve and to secure its long-term sustainability, relevancy, and competitive advantage, Tuskegee leadership recognizes the need to develop new models of financial sustainability that include augmentation and diversification of philanthropic revenue streams. To this end, Dr. McNair and the board of trustees share a commitment to building a premier advancement enterprise capable of achieving the potential that is clear and evident.

This position is an exceptional opportunity for a high-performing and accomplished individual to grow an advancement program in support of Tuskegee’s important mission through the implementation of best practices, team and capacity building, and the application of data-driven strategies. The VP will assess and further define the strategic direction of the advancement function, and will design and implement the necessary infrastructure to support a comprehensive and sustainable advancement program, recruiting, leading, and motivating the team to meet aggressive goals.

Success for the next VP will, in part, be defined by an ability to build a stronger culture of philanthropy by educating and engaging all members of the Tuskegee community in university advancement efforts. The VP will benefit from President McNair’s personal commitment to advancement-related activities. As an active participant on the president’s senior leadership team and in the community, the VP will play a key role in building a culture of trust, and developing collaborative and solution-oriented relationships with campus leadership and all Tuskegee constituents. The VP will ensure the success and growth of fundraising efforts in support of campus units, serving as senior counsel not only to the president, but also to deans on a wide range of activities, including but not limited to goal setting, solicitation strategies, and pipeline development. Leading by example, the VP will personally identify, cultivate, and secure principal and major gifts, and will partner with gift officers to determine appropriate strategies and define mutually acceptable annual and multi-year performance goals.

It is essential that the VP have a deep understanding of and passion for the mission, goals, and culture of Tuskegee University, including its important history and future as one of the nation’s leading HBCUs. The successful candidate will have a minimum of seven to 10 years of progressively responsible leadership experience in a comprehensive development and alumni relations operation, preferably within higher education, and a keen understanding of and ability to implement best practices. The ideal candidate will possess substantial experience with all phases of a successful comprehensive campaign; a proven track record of personally cultivating, soliciting, and stewarding six- and seven-figure gifts; and engaging and supporting faculty, senior leaders, and volunteers in their respective fundraising efforts.

This leader must be good-natured, flexible, and open-minded; comfortable navigating ambiguity; experienced with change management; and able to adapt in a dynamic environment. The VP will foster a professional work environment that recognizes individual and collective success, builds confidence, and promotes diversity in all its forms. A bachelor’s degree is required, and an advanced degree is preferred.

Tuskegee University has retained Ms. Rachel Ellenport of the national executive search firm Isaacson, Miller to conduct the search. For more information, to make a nomination, or to apply for this role, please visit

Tuskegee University is an Equal Opportunity Employer

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