WSU launches search for next chief advancement officer

PULLMAN, Wash. — Washington State University today launched a national search for its next vice president of University Advancement and chief executive officer of the WSU Foundation. The position leads the university’s fundraising and advancement activities.

John Gardner, WSU vice president for University Advancement and chief executive officer of the WSU Foundation

John Gardner, who has served as vice president and CEO since 2014 and in several other leadership positions during 10 years at WSU, will leave the foundation but remain at the university once a successor is hired. The search is expected to be completed by the end of 2017.

“John has been an integral part of WSU’s success since he arrived at the university in 2007,” said university President Kirk Schulz. “From leading our economic development activities, to working with our partners to advance WSU’s clean technology initiatives, to guiding our $1 billion fundraising campaign to a successful conclusion, we are a better university today thanks to John’s leadership.”

Under Gardner’s direction, WSU recorded several notable advancement achievements in recent years:

  • The nine-year Campaign for Washington State University: Because the World Needs Big Ideas surpassed its $1 billion goal in summer 2015. More than 206,000 donors contributed.
  • The WSU Alumni Association doubled its membership from 2004.
  • The university executed a statewide integrated marketing campaign in 2015—Inspiring Washington—to build awareness and support for WSU’s mission as part of the university’s year-long celebration of the 125th anniversary of its founding.

Schulz also noted Gardner’s personal integrity and deep commitment to the university. “John’s genuineness, compassion for others, and dedication to serving WSU’s interests are qualities I’ve greatly admired and will miss,” Schulz said. “John is a Coug through and through—I thank him for all he has done and look forward to his continued presence at the university.”

“WSU has a played a special role in my life over the past decade,” Gardner said. “To me, WSU represents something larger than self, longer than life. I can already imagine the impact of the next campaign and the history yet to be written. It’s a privilege to be a Coug.”

Once his successor is hired Gardner will focus on several high-profile WSU endeavors, including:

  • The Federal Aviation Administration Center of Excellence for Alternative Jet Fuels and the Environment (ASCENT). The center, co-led by WSU and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), is working to create science-based solutions to reduce the environmental impact of the aviation industry.
  • A variety of initiatives led by the Office of Clean Technology, part of WSU’s Office of Research. The clean tech office advances research that addresses the threats of energy supply, climate change, pollution, and resource depletion.

WSU Regent, Foundation board of director, and former campaign chair Scott Carson and Stacy Pearson, the university’s vice president for finance and administration, will co-lead the search. The 21-member search committee also includes:

  • Linda Bailey, senior director of development, College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences
  • Joan Berry, member, board of directors, WSU Foundation
  • Anjan Bose, Regents’ Professor, School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
  • Bob Drewel, senior advisor, Office of the President
  • Uri Farkas, associate athletic director, executive director of the Cougar Athletic Fund, Intercollegiate Athletics
  • Ken Fincher, assistant vice chancellor, Advancement and Community Engagement, WSU Tri-Cities
  • Jordan Frost, president-elect, Associated Students of Washington State University
  • Mark Hermanson, executive associate vice president, University Advancement Operations & Campaigns
  • Kim Holapa, associate vice president, University Development, director of stewardship, events, and board relations
  • Chip Hunter, dean, Carson College of Business
  • Diane Kolb, president, board of directors, WSU Alumni Association
  • Jennifer Miltenberger, director of development and alumni relations, WSU Vancouver
  • Alex Pietsch, associate vice president, Corporate Relations
  • Dennis Reed, director of development, WSU Spokane
  • Shane Reynolds, president-elect, Graduate and Professional Student Association
  • Judy Rogers, member, board of directors, WSU Foundation
  • Liz Ryan, assistant vice president, Gift Planning
  • Don Shearer, senior director of development, College of Arts & Sciences
  • Isaac Wells, member, Board of Trustees, WSU Foundation

The search committee will be assisted by an executive search firm that will be announced at a later date.


News media contact:

Robert Strenge, WSU News, 509-335-3583,