Vice President for University Advancement and External Affairs
Savannah State University, the oldest public historically black university in Georgia, seeks an experienced fundraiser and strategic leader to serve as Vice President for University Advancement and External Affairs. This senior administrator reports to the University President and is a member of the President’s Cabinet in the overall management of the University. The preferred start date is January 3, 2023.
Full information on this search is available in the Search Profile at
Savannah State University
Founded in 1890, Savannah State University is the oldest public historically black university in Georgia. The University’s mission and educational goals are realized through comprehensive program offerings in the College of Business Administration, the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, the College of Sciences and Technology, and the School of Education. Kimberly Ballard-Washington, J.D., was appointed president of Savannah State University in 2021, after serving nearly two years as the University’s interim president. Over her career, she has led all three of Georgia’s public Historically Black Colleges and Universities.
The 201-acre campus in the popular city of Savannah is one of the most picturesque in the state of Georgia. The moss-laden sweeping oak trees, expansive marsh, and historic architecture are the backdrop for this vibrant residential campus. Savannah State students experience a challenging, energized collegiate life; study relevant academic majors in current and emerging fields; attend engaging lectures; perform cutting-edge research, and have quality student-faculty engagement in a student-center learning environment.
Serving 3,000 undergraduate and graduate students, Savannah State provides a supportive yet challenging learning environment with opportunities to establish close student-faculty relationships and relevant social and professional networks. More than 76 percent of the students attend full-time, and over 81 percent are Georgia residents. The two largest majors are Business Management (14.3%) and Biology (13.6%). The retention rate from Fall 2019 to Fall 2020 of first-time, full-time students was 69.3 percent.
The University has a strong record in research and grant funding and aggressively seeks funds from federal sources, including NIH and NSF research. Grants compose approximately 10 percent of Savannah State’s annual budget and directly support the University’s mission to achieve student success. These grants support curriculum enhancement, faculty and student research, student scholarships, presentations at conferences, and other scholarly activity.
In addition to its academic support programs and extracurricular activities, the University has exhibits, performances, sports teams, concerts, and community volunteer service projects geared to improving relationships with neighborhoods in the greater Savannah area.
Serving as the chief advancement, development, and marketing and communications officer of the University, the Vice President for University Advancement and External Affairs is responsible for providing leadership for the development, administration, and management of all functions and matters relating to Savannah State’s comprehensive fundraising, alumni engagement, marketing and communications, and government relations efforts. This senior administrator reports to the University President and is a member of the President’s Cabinet in the overall management of the University.
The Vice President also serves as Executive Director of the Savannah State University Foundation, Inc., a Georgia non-profit corporation with the purpose of receiving, investing, and administering the private support of Savannah State University. The Foundation provides financial support that allows the University to build upon a growing reputation of quality and value beyond the traditional resources provided by state appropriations and student tuition and fees. The 31-member Board of Directors is comprised of loyal alumni and friends and administers and invests charitable gifts to maximize the gift’s value to the University.
Among those positions reporting to the Vice President are the Executive Director for University Advancement and Director of Advancement Services; Director of Development; Director of Alumni Relations; Database and Gift Coordinator; Stewardship Coordinator; Development Officer of Annual Giving; Business Manager, and Executive Assistant to Vice President for University Advancement.
Essential Job Functions
- Is responsible, in consultation with the University President, for generating private donations to support the University’s operations, including scholarship, academic, operational, and infrastructure needs.
- Is responsible for the management and growth of the University foundation’s endowment, investment, unrestricted, and restricted funds as the Executive Director of the University Foundation.
- Assists the President with external community relations.
- Stays knowledgeable of current fundraising, marketing and public relations programs, practices, and procedures being utilized by higher education institutions.
- Develops and manages the University’s faculty and staff giving program and is responsible for the development and execution of annual fund drives, deferred gift planning, and corporate and foundation giving.
- Develops and manages a donor relations and stewardship program that achieves meaningful and reciprocal engagement between the University and its donors.
- Oversees the leadership and management for the Division of University Advancement and External Affairs, including management and evaluation of staff, development of strategic plans, budget development, and stewardship of resources.
- Promotes a positive image for the University by communicating and interacting with city, state, and other officials regarding matters related to University Advancement and representing the President and the University in various community, state, and regional activities designed to promote Savannah State in particular and higher education in general.
- Provides leadership in the development and implementation of the University’s internal and external communications, public relations, and marketing to effectively convey the mission and academic value of the University and to ensure that high-quality standards for positive brand recognition are maintained.
- Develops policies and procedures for the Division of University Advancement and External Affairs and the Savannah State University Foundation.
- Encourages high morale and the delivery of quality service by each employee within the Division through a leadership style that results in employees striving enthusiastically toward the accomplishment of established goals and objectives.
- Is responsible for special projects and other duties as directed by the University President.
The Vice President will perform job-related tasks other than those specifically delineated in this description and as designated by the University President.
Candidates must have master’s degree from an accredited institution of higher learning and a minimum of 10 years of management experience with a working knowledge of business development, campaign management, annual giving programs, corporate and foundation relations, prospect management, alumni affairs, marketing, and communications.
- Demonstrated record of exemplary leadership and accomplishment in development with a proven track record of successful fundraising and campaign management
- Demonstrated experience in volunteer management and in soliciting gifts
- Demonstrated commitment to the values of higher education and lifelong learning and professional growth
- Demonstrated experience in goal setting, both long- and short-term for internal teams
- Self-motivated and goal-oriented work style
- Ability to work evenings and weekends and to travel, as needed
Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities
- Demonstrated effectiveness as a culturally competent professional with broad experience interacting and supporting the needs of a diverse population
- Knowledge of current trends and generally accepted practices relevant to the position
- Demonstrated ability to design and implement successful fundraising and marketing campaigns
- Knowledge and proficiency in search engine optimization (SEO) and web analytics
- Demonstrated analytical and problem-solving skills
- Excellent communications skills, both written and oral
Established in 1733, Savannah is a historic city with a revered past, a vibrant present, and an innovative future. With nearly 400,000 area residents, Savannah has maintained steady growth, with the economy based mainly in shipping ports, manufacturing, tourism, and the military. It is home to the fourth busiest port in the nation.
With a world-class reputation for hospitality and grace, Savannah attracts visitors internationally. This beautiful river city is consistently named to popular lists, including the “World’s Top Ten Trendy Travel Hot Spots” by The New York Times, a “Top 10 U.S. City to Visit” by Condé Nast Traveler, “Top 10 Most Beautiful Places in America” by USA Weekend Magazine, and “Top 25 Places to Live and Work” by Outlook Magazine.
The city offers a high quality of life and a family-friendly lifestyle. Museums, live entertainment, active art scene, outstanding cuisine, trendy boutiques and national chains for shopping, and concerts and performances are all part of what makes Savannah a popular place to live, work, and enjoy.
Application & Nominations
Confidential inquiries are welcomed, and nominations are invited.
- Application packet must include the following: a) Cover letter, b) Résumé, and c) At least five references with full contact information including e-mails (References will not be contacted without consent from applicant.)
- Submit application packet (preferably as PDFs) to SSU-VPAdv@myersmcrae.com by October 17, 2022, for best consideration. Additional information will be requested upon receipt of application. Applications will be accepted until the position is filled.
Submit nominations to: SSU-VPAdvemail@example.com with complete contact and e-mail information for the individual being nominated.
Emily Parker Myers, Chief Executive Officer of Myers McRae Executive Search and Consulting, is assisting Savannah State University with this search. Request a conversation at JessicaThompson@myersmcrae.com.
Savannah State University is an Equal Opportunity, Affirmative-Action Institution committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, genetics, religion, sex, national origin, disability, or protected Veteran status. Georgia is an Open Records State.