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New Vice President Hired to Lead UCM Fundraising and Alumni Programs

By Jeff Murphy, August 29, 2017

WARRENSBURG, MO – University of Central Missouri President Charles Ambrose has announced the hiring of J. Lance Cavanaugh as the new Vice President for University Advancement and Executive Director of the UCM Alumni Foundation.

Ambrose made the announcement during the Board of Governors’ August plenary session.

With a continuing need for strong philanthropic support for programs and initiatives that benefit UCM and its students, the university is turning to Cavanaugh to fill its top fundraising post. His first day at his office in the Smiser Alumni Center will be Sept. 18.

Cavanaugh has 38 years of experience in higher education philanthropic development, major fundraising campaigns, alumni programs and strategic communications. He has over 10 years of experience at the vice presidential level, most recently at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. He also served as Vice President for Development at the University of Arizona in Tucson and at Monmouth College in Illinois.

In addition, Cavanaugh has raised major gifts and directed development, alumni and public relations programs at the University of Wisconsin Foundation, Iowa State University Foundation, Wright State University, Beloit College, University of Minnesota Duluth, University of Nevada Reno Foundation and Southwest Minnesota State University.

Early in his career, he was a television news reporter and newscast producer before entering the field of higher education institutional advancement.

Cavanaugh fills the position previously held by Jason Drummond, who departed UCM to become Chief Executive Officer at the Down Syndrome Guild of Greater Kansas City.

“We are grateful for Dr. Drummond’s outstanding contributions to UCM over the past six years, including helping to grow the Foundation’s assets to an all-time high,” Ambrose said. “We wish Jason well.  We are committed to continue building momentum in our University Advancement area by taking advantage of Lance Cavanaugh’s nearly four decades of higher education leadership, strategic planning and philanthropic experience. We’re confident in Lance’s ability to build donor support as a way to help UCM continue to make education more accessible and affordable for our students.”

“I’m looking forward to working with President Ambrose, the Alumni Foundation staff and board, and other people who care about the future of UCM,” Cavanaugh said. “Through their support, our 97,000 alumni can have a transformational impact on our students and the advancement of this university.”

With continuing budget cuts by the state, Cavanaugh said UCM is relying even more on charitable contributions from alumni, members of the Warrensburg community, companies, foundations, and other friends throughout Missouri and across the country. “We need to meet in person with many more of our alumni and ask them to make major gifts and pledges in support of UCM,” he said. “We also need to build stronger grassroots support through our website and online giving, social media, crowdfunding, letters, telephone calls, and other appeals.”

Cavanaugh said the Office of University Advancement and UCM Alumni Foundation needs to expand programs and staff to achieve increasingly ambitious goals and expectations. “To strengthen alumni commitment to UCM and generate more giving income, we will hire a new alumni director and several development officers who will travel throughout Missouri and the United States,” he said. “We have other key positions on our team to fill as well.”

“We are on a mission to significantly increase engagement and communication with our alumni and the community, secure more philanthropic support, and help UCM become an even greater university,” Cavanaugh said.

Donor contributions will be used to support student scholarships, academic programs, the arts, intercollegiate athletics, buildings and facility improvements, student activities and leadership development, and other university priorities and initiatives.

“We have plenty of naming opportunities for donors here at UCM,” Cavanaugh said.

Cavanaugh earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in media arts (journalism) from the College of St. Scholastica, Duluth, Minn. He and his wife Kathryn have been married 37 years. They have two adult daughters, Elizabeth and Laura, and two adult sons, John and James.


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