National Institute on Aging

San José State University — Vice President for University Advancement and Chief Executive Officer of the Tower Foundation

San José State University (SJSU) seeks an experienced, creative and inspirational leader to serve as its next Vice President for University Advancement (VPUA) and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Tower Foundation. 

Founded in 1857, San José State University is the oldest public institution of higher education on the West Coast. San José State is located in the heart of California’s Silicon Valley and is the fifth largest of the 23 campuses of the California State University (CSU) system, the largest four-year university system in the United States. As one of the 200 top research universities in the nation, San José State has robust NSF and NIH-funded research programs and one of the highest levels of research funding in the CSU system. San José State also offers rigorous coursework to more than 35,000 undergraduate and graduate students in nine colleges.

With the arrival of President Cynthia Teniente-Matson in January 2023, San José State is well positioned to become a pre-eminent urban public university. With strong enrollments and a renewed commitment to excellence in teaching and research, the campus is poised to grow and innovate, strengthening its connection to the surrounding San José and Silicon Valley community and further fulfilling its social justice mission of access and equity. A new strategic plan—Transformation 2030—was released in the spring of 2019, laying the groundwork for the next ten years of unparalleled growth.

Reporting directly to President Teniente-Matson and joining a collegial and engaged senior leadership team, the incoming VPUA will be responsible for establishing a comprehensive fundraising and alumni relations program that supports the campus-wide strategic plan. The VPUA should understand the transformative role that private philanthropy can play in the lives of faculty and students and support the expansion of opportunities that improve academic excellence and student success. This important leadership position will be a visible spokesperson and advocate for SJSU in an effort to create awareness, build relationships and ultimately generate support for the institution. The VPUA will be expected to engage with donors, alumni, friends, the greater Silicon Valley community, business leaders and private foundations to promote and develop partnerships and fundraising opportunities to benefit the university, faculty and students. The VPUA will provide strong leadership and strategic vision to the advancement team in an effort to further develop programs and activities that ultimately result in building a more robust donor pipeline that increases annual, major and planned giving to the institution. Of critical importance, this position will be a key partner to the president and provide strategic counsel and support for donor relations and principal gift activities. The VPUA will be expected to be an advocate for diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging, as well as lead efforts to cultivate diverse donors through successful networking.

The incoming VPUA should have a strong track record of facilitating, cultivating and soliciting six figure gifts and above that support the institution’s strategic priorities. Additionally, the VPUA will have experience developing and supporting faculty, academic leadership and senior administrators in an effort to raise funds for key initiatives and campus-wide programs. SJSU’s VPUA should possess strong communication skills, a superb ability to collaborate with internal and external partners and a thorough knowledge of best practice fundraising and alumni relations strategies and tactics, particularly as they relate to a large, urban, public comprehensive and emerging research institution serving a highly diverse student body. Furthermore, the VPUA will be responsible for building, motivating and inspiring a high performing team that will be responsible for implementing and engaging a comprehensive fundraising campaign in excess of $300 million. 

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 which can be found at 

WittKieffer is assisting San José State University in this search. For fullest consideration, application materials should be received by: May 15, 2023.

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

Nominations and inquiries can be directed to:

Zachary A. Smith, Ph.D., Alejandra Gillette-Teran and Corin Edwards 

The salary for the role is anticipated to be up to $290,000. The final hiring salary is commensurate with experience. 

 San José State University (SJSU) is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer committed to nondiscrimination on the basis of age, ancestry, citizenship status, color, creed, disability, ethnicity, gender, genetic information, marital status, medical condition, national origin, race, religion or lack thereof, sex, sexual orientation, transgender, or protected veteran status consistent with applicable federal and state laws. This policy applies to all SJSU students, faculty and staff programs and activities. Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, and certain other federal and state laws, prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex in all education programs and activities operated by the university (both on and off campus).