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University Presidents Leadership Series

Personal statements made by presidents about fundraising:

I have not [had fundraising training], and I think it would be valuable, particularly because I am such a neophyte at this... I would say I need the fundamentals, the passing, dribbling, shooting for sure — we are in the silent phase of a campaign, so I need some education in that as well.

A public university president in a recent study

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Dr. Gary A. Ransdell

Dr. Gary A. RansdellDr. Gary A. Ransdell was named the ninth president of Western Kentucky University on September 12, 1997.

WKU has been the fastest growing university in Kentucky for fourteen straight years, with enrollment swelling from 14,500 to 21,000. The applicant pool has doubled to over 14,000 and student retention has grown from 67 percent to 76 percent. The curriculum is being shaped to drive Kentucky’s economic development and ensure that faculty and students alike are immersed in an international experience.

A key element in the transformation of WKU is growth in private support. WKU completed its first capital campaign on June 30, 2003, with $102 million in gifts and pledges. A second campaign was completed on June 30, 2012, with $202 million in new gifts and pledges.

Another priority is a complete rebuilding of the WKU campus. Some $600 million in campus construction has been completed since 1998; $100 million more is scheduled to be completed by 2014, and another $150 million is on the drawing board.

Dr. Ransdell has served on the Board of Directors of the Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce, the Board for the Inter-model Transportation Authority of South Central Kentucky, and has chaired the Warren County United Way Campaign. In 2004, Dr. Ransdell completed a four-year appointment on the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB), and he is a past chairman of the Louisville Branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.

Dr. Timothy Caboni

Dr. Timothy CaboniDr. Timothy Caboni is Vice Chancellor for Public Affairs at the University of Kansas where he oversees the communications, marketing and advocacy efforts of the university and serves as KU’s principal spokesperson.

As chief communication strategist, he directs the university’s efforts to raise the visibility of KU’s knowledge discovery, instruction and patient care efforts. In addition, he coordinates the efforts of the Alumni Association, the Athletics Corporation and the Endowment Corporation with those of the university.

Caboni came to Kansas from Vanderbilt University where he was Associate Dean for External Relations and Professional Education at the Peabody College for education and human development. His efforts contributed to the school rising to No. 1 in the U.S. News rankings of graduate schools of education for three consecutive years.

In addition to his administrative responsibilities, he served as director of Vanderbilt’s unique institutional advancement program - the nation’s only academic program devoted solely to the preparation of advancement professionals for colleges and universities. Professor Caboni taught courses in fund raising, external relations, alumni relations, strategic marketing, and university management.

He holds a Ph.D. in higher education leadership and policy from Vanderbilt University, a master’s degree in corporate and organizational communication from Western Kentucky University and a bachelor’s degree in speech communication and rhetoric from Louisiana State University.

Dr. Robert L. Jackson

Dr. Robert L. JacksonDr. Robert L (Bob) Jackson is the Associate Vice President of Institutional Advancement at Murray State University (MSU). He serves as the chief development officer and is responsible for institutional advancement initiatives and all state and federal governmental relations activities.

Since 2006, he has also served as the director of a major comprehensive fundraising campaign at MSU, which has resulted in raising more than $71.7 million as of September 30, 2012, exceeding the original goal of $60 million. He has been credited with implementing new fundraising technologies and programs along with building an excellent development team, which has generated three record fundraising years during the past seven years.

Bob has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Finance from Murray State University. He has completed graduate courses in finance at MSU and doctoral courses at the University of Leicester (UK). He holds a Master of Arts Degree in Higher Education Administration from Antioch University and a Doctorate in Educational Leadership with an emphasis in Higher Education Leadership from Western Kentucky University.

In addition, he holds a Certificate in Fund Raising Management from the School of Philanthropy at Indiana University. In 2010, he completed the Council for Advancement and Support of Education’s Summer Fundraising Institute at Dartmouth College.

Dr. Randell Capps

Dr. Randell CappsDuring his tenure at Western Kentucky University, Dr. Capps has won awards for both teaching and research. He spent eighteen years as head of the communications department and three years as assistant to the president.

Since 1994, he has split his time between teaching WKU MBA students and managing a consulting practice, Leadership Strategies Group. The consulting practice is focused on leadership and management development with corporations and non-profits around the United States.

Dr. Capps has also spent time in the corporate world including one sabbatical at the General Motors Corporation on an educational grant researching leadership among executives. He spent another year on leave from WKU advising the Whirlpool Corporation on change management programs.

He has received four grants from the Quebec government to research management practices among Canadian companies. His last book, "Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Quebec: How the Provence Became a World Class Player," was a result of that research.

He currently serves as a visiting professor with the Business School at the University of Lyon in France where he regularly teaches in their International MBA program.

Ms. Kathryn Costello

Ms. Kathryn CostelloMs. Kathryn Costello joined WKU in January 2011 as Vice President for Development and Alumni Relations and President/CEO of the WKU Foundation. Under her leadership, WKU completed its largest campaign in June 2012, surpassing the $200 million goal.

Ms. Costello has more than 30 years of experience in development, strategic planning and management. She most recently served as Vice President for Development for the University at Buffalo, a position she had held since 2006. She has served as Vice President and consultant at both public and private universities, planning and implementing capital campaigns totaling more than 1.5 billion including a successful $202 million campaign at WKU.

Previously, Ms. Costello was a Vice President at Southern Methodist University, the University of Maryland, Rice University, the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, and Senior Vice President at the University of Georgia. She also served as Associate Vice President at Vanderbilt University, and she was a partner of Alexander Haas Martin and Partners in Atlanta, where she provided clients a wide range of services, including strategic planning, board and leadership development and philanthropy.

A native of Georgia, Ms. Costello received bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Kentucky. She has served as a trustee of the International Board of the Council for Advancement and Support of Education and as a board member on nonprofit organizations in several cities.

Alan Zacharias

Alan ZachariasAlan is the President of Zacharias Advancement Consulting LLC, Wheaton, Illinois. He provides counsel to universities in board development, strategic planning, campaign readiness research, campaign planning, and major and planned gift fund raising.

Alan has served as Vice President for University Advancement and President of the Foundation at Southeast Missouri State University; Senior Vice President at Concordia University-Chicago; and Vice President for University Advancement at Concordia University at Irvine.

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 Last Modified 9/24/14