Florida State University — Vice President for University Advancement and President for the Foundation

Florida State University seeks an experienced leader with the motivation and skill to create a strong culture of philanthropy and collaboration throughout campus and our alumni communities. This unique professional opportunity offers an ability to shape the future of this university by building a bolder organization, shepherding a capital campaign, and supporting the initiative from a new, accomplished, president who has an ambitious vision for the future of this university. Take Florida State’s advancement endeavors to new heights by joining the leadership team as Vice President for University Advancement and President for the Foundation.

One of the nation’s elite research universities, Florida State University advances cutting-edge research in the sciences, technology, arts, humanities, and professions, while embracing a philosophy of learning strongly rooted in the traditions of the liberal arts, entrepreneurship, and critical thinking. FSU’s welcoming campus is located on the oldest continuous site of higher education in Florida, in a community that fosters free inquiry and embraces diversity, along with championship athletics, and a prime location in the heart of the state capital.

Home to over 45,000 students and nearly 400,000 living alumni, FSU is ranked #55 in National Universities and #19 Top Public Schools by US News & World Report. The university has steadily continued to rise in ranking – from #43 in 2016 to #19 in 2022 – with each freshman class exceeding the previous in academic success and potential. 

Florida State is classified among “R1: Doctoral Universities – Very high research activity”. The university comprises 19 separate colleges and more than 110 centers, facilities, labs, and institutes that offer more than 360 programs of study, including professional school programs.

The vice president will join a mature university which continues to rise in the rankings and grow in national and international reputation among higher education institutions. Just like the university’s rise in the rankings, the vice president will grow the advancement program in preparation for the next ambitious campaign. FSU concluded its $1 billion Raise the Torch campaign on June 30, 2018, with a total of $1.16 billion raised. While the details of a future campaign have not yet been established, the incoming vice president should be prepared to lay the groundwork for a campaign with even larger ambitions. 

The vice president will be a strong leader internally and externally for the university. The vice president will be an adviser and partner to the president and manage the boards for the Florida State University Foundation and Alumni Association. The vice president will interact closely and frequently with the Seminole Boosters and maintain close and collaborative working relationships with the deans, and administrative leaders, providing guidance and maximizing philanthropic impact in each of their units. FSU seeks a visionary, entrepreneurial leader and change agent who pursues innovative solutions grounded in sound advancement strategies and tactics.

The vice president will be both an inspiring and strategic executive officer and a principal fundraiser with a focus on maximizing philanthropic impact through industry best practices, effective communication strategies, and clear linkages of strategies to goals and objectives. The vice president will be responsible for the overall health and growth of the advancement program, as well as further advancing the cultivation and solicitation of the university’s most generous alumni, donors, volunteers, and friends of the institution. 

The vice president will be responsible for strengthening and integrating the three direct support organizations (FSU Foundation, FSU Alumni Association, and Seminole Boosters) in a way that preserves their respective missions while also ensuring an integrated and cohesive major and principal gift strategy for university-wide priorities. Although the Seminole Boosters do not directly report to the next vice president, working closely together with this organization will be important. To maintain a collaborative and unified fundraising program on campus, the vice president for university advancement and president for the Foundation maintains a strategic relationship with the Seminole Booster President, staff, and board members. The vice president will assess and evaluate the university’s advancement infrastructure with a focus on recruiting, retaining, and developing a team of approximately 175 FTE and manage a budget of approximately $26,000,000. 

The vice president will be an experienced advancement leader with a strong reputation and documented career success. The vice president will have proven strengths in engaging in innovative, strategic thinking and long-range planning with university leaders and other campus constituents. The vice president must possess the highest integrity and moral character. The incoming vice president must resonate with, be committed to, and speak passionately about the mission of Florida State and value of public university higher education more broadly. For more information, please visit www.wittkieffer.com. 

All applications, nominations and inquiries are invited. Applications should include, as separate documents, a CV or resume and a letter of interest addressing the themes in the leadership profile.

WittKieffer is assisting Florida State University in this search. For fullest consideration, candidate materials should be received by May 5, 2022.

Application materials should be submitted using WittKieffer’s candidate portal.

Nominations and inquiries can be directed to:

Zachary A. Smith, Ph.D., Melissa Fincher, and Jevon Walton

Florida State University (University) is an equal opportunity employer and educational provider committed to a policy of non-discrimination for any member of the University’s community on the basis of race, creed, color, sex, religion, national origin, age, disability, genetic information, veterans’ status, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, or any other legally protected group status. 

The University Advancement division is committed to fostering, cultivating, and maintaining a culture of equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI). With an increasingly diverse population of alumni and donors, we recognize that the most successful advancement offices are staffed by individuals who can connect with these diverse communities and understand approaches that engage a broad perspective of cultures, values, and experiences. 

The successful candidate will display a record of leadership and accomplishment in the area of EDI. This individual must have the capacity to build and nurture relationships, communicate effectively, and work intentionally to ensure that institutional priorities related to EDI efforts are reflected in all aspects of our fundraising and advancement work. We highly encourage applications from historically underrepresented minority groups, persons with disabilities, persons who have served in the military, and others who would bring additional dimensions of education and experience to our team.