Vice President of Institutional Advancement

Millsaps College seeks nominations and applications for the position of Vice President of Institutional Advancement. The vice president will be a relationship-oriented, warm, energetic and innovative leader with proven success in the advancement field and a deep commitment to Millsaps College’s mission and values.

The next Vice President of Institutional Advancement will join Millsaps College during an exciting and pivotal moment in time and will be well positioned to achieve great things for the institution. In 2021, Millsaps welcomed one of its largest enrollment classes in a decade and continues to exceed fundraising goals. The college concluded its most successful fundraising year ever with help from increased alumni giving, board support and a seasoned advancement team.

Millsaps College

Millsaps is a selective undergraduate institution located on 100 beautiful acres in the heart of Jackson, the capital of Mississippi — a progressive southern metropolitan city of nearly half a million. The college was founded in 1890 by members of the Methodist Church and is consistently ranked as one of the best values in higher education. Millsaps has been praised by Colleges That Change Lives, The Princeton Review, Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine, the John Templeton Foundation, The Fiske Guide to Colleges and Insight magazine, among others.

Millsaps College is dedicated to academic excellence, open inquiry and free expression, the exploration of faith to inform vocation and the innovative shaping of the social, economic and cultural progress of the region.

Millsaps has an enrollment of approximately 750 students and employs 80 full-time faculty members. Ninety-four percent of Millsaps tenure-track faculty hold a Ph.D. or terminal degree in their field. The faculty/student ratio at Millsaps is 1:9, and the average class size is 14. Millsaps has graduated 25 Fulbright Award recipients, seven Rhodes Scholars, six Goldwater Scholars and two Truman Scholars. The college offers 33 majors and 47 minors and was the first college or university in Mississippi with a Phi Beta Kappa chapter. In addition to the undergraduate curriculum, the college offers a Master of Business Administration and Master of Accountancy through the Else School of Management. Millsaps is a member of the NCAA Division III and Southern Athletic Association and competes in 18 intercollegiate sports.

Strategic Goals and Planning

Building on its motto of Ad Excellentiam, including its strong heritage of social justice, freedom of thought and reflection on life’s most important questions, Millsaps College engages students in a transformative learning and leadership experience that results in personal and intellectual growth, commitment to good citizenship in our global society and a desire to succeed and make a difference in every community they touch. In addition, the college’s central location in the capital city of Mississippi broadens student opportunities for experiential learning and community service.

Work is underway on the college’s 2025 strategic plan. Key elements include:

  • Expanded opportunities for engaged and experiential learning.
  • Implementation of the Pathways program to support career exploration.
  • Innovative approaches to produce informed, participatory and empathetic citizens.
  • Continuing commitment to leveraging the college’s location as a differentiating factor for its mission, programs and financial success.
  • A campus that fosters a sense of place for all students that is exciting, supportive, successful and fun.
  • Ongoing opportunities for continuing education.

Leadership and University Governance

Dr. Robert Wesley Pearigen is the 11th president of Millsaps College and joined the institution in 2010 with more than two decades of leadership and teaching in higher education.

A native of Memphis, Tennessee, Pearigen is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of The University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee, where he earned a bachelor of arts in political science. He received his master’s and doctoral degrees in political science from Duke University. His graduate study included constitutional law, judicial process and political theory, particularly the work of Plato and Aristotle. His academic fields of interest and publications include public law, political theory and American government, and as a tenured professor at Millsaps College he regularly teaches courses in constitutional law, jurisprudence and political theory.

Over his career, Pearigen has served as a secondary school teacher and governing board member and in higher education as a professor, dean of students and vice president of university relations.

As President of Millsaps, Pearigen has led the institution through two comprehensive strategic planning processes, a new curriculum, a campus master plan and operational and academic enhancement of the college’s 4,500-acre biocultural reserve in the Yucatán. His leadership has also produced significant growth in philanthropic support of the college, including a 200% increase in the annual fund (surpassing $2 million) and substantial gifts for the endowment and for capital projects amounting to over $35 million in renovations and new construction on campus

During his tenure at Millsaps, Pearigen has served as president of the Mississippi Association of Colleges and Universities, chair of the presidents’ councils of the Associated Colleges of the South and the Southern Athletic Association, member of the Board of Directors of the National Association of Colleges and Universities of the United Methodist Church, Member of the Accountability Committee of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities and member and chair of on-site committees for the Southern Association Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Millsaps College is governed by a 40-person Board of Trustees that provides fiduciary leadership to the college and conducts business through various committees. The college also has a Board of Visitors, whose purpose is to provide opportunities for leading alumni, parents and friends to engage in informed discussion about current issues in the life of the college; to offer insight and counsel to the college’s administration and Board of Trustees about those issues; and to invite meaningful engagement with and support of the institution.

Institutional Advancement

Thanks to the remarkable generosity of the Millsaps College community, approximately $14.5 million was raised in gifts and pledges during 2020-21. This represents the second-largest fundraising year in the past 12 years. Highlights include a significant increase in endowed giving from $1.1 million in 2019-20 to $4.2 million in 2020-21 and a record-setting Annual Fund total of $2.12 million. The college is in the silent phase of a capital campaign and expects to launch the public phase under the leadership of the next Vice President for Institutional Advancement.

In addition to the support from alumni, parents and friends, the Board of Trustees has pledged $3 million dollars and 100% participation toward the sponsored scholarship initiative. The Board’s commitment will help support college operations, including current scholarship needs. The current endowment value is $115 million.

The Position

The Vice President of Institutional Advancement reports to the President of the college and is a member of the President’s Executive Staff and Cabinet.  The vice president leads all college fundraising, alumni and parent relations programs and is the institutional liaison to the Institutional Advancement Committee of the Millsaps College Board of Trustees.  The successful candidate will lead a seasoned fundraising team of 11 professionals in the offices of development, annual giving, alumni and parent relations and advancement operations.

Opportunities and Challenges

Partner with an energetic president who is a seasoned advancement professional and work with a board that is committed to the success of advancement and the institution. The vice president will be a thoughtful and strategic partner who provides active leadership and guidance around increasing Millsaps’ capacity and effectiveness relative to fundraising success.

Provide vision and leadership for the campaign. The vice president will provide strategic leadership and direction around analysis of the current campaign priorities and lead the planning, launch and completion of the campaign. She or he will also drive the vision around post-campaign analytics, reporting and follow-up.  The campaign is in the silent phase and will be launched publicly under the leadership of the vice president.

Create and convey a strong vision and philanthropic strategy for the college that addresses new donor acquisition, pipeline development and increased endowment giving and alumni participation. The vice president will have the opportunity to build upon a record-setting fundraising year and work in collaboration with the president and Board to assess the viability of future fundraising initiatives and develop a plan to attract continued college support while also broadening the donor base and bringing focus on endowment giving.

Strengthen and support a seasoned advancement staff.  The vice president will inherit a dedicated and experienced staff who are known for their collegial support of each other and deep knowledge of the donor base and culture of philanthropy of the institution. The vice president will share a vision and clear measurable goals so that the staff will continue to thrive. The incumbent will also inspire, mentor and empower the team to foster strategic partnerships across the campus with faculty and staff.

In addition to the opportunities and challenges listed above, the vice president:

  • Leads the overall fundraising strategy including major and planned gifts and capital campaigns as set forth by college’s strategic plan and leadership.
  • Leads and develops a highly effective team of people who make successful and lasting contributions to the college’s mission and strategic plan through relationship building and engagement of alumni, parents and friends of the college.
  • Actively engages with and manages a portfolio of major gift prospects ($50K – $1M+), including personal cultivation, solicitation, closing of gifts and stewardship.
  • Coaches major and planned giving officers in successful donor cultivation, solicitation, closing of gifts and stewardship.
  • Identifies and leads the college in major grant and other corporate/business fundraising opportunities.
  • Supports the president in his advancement activities, managing engagement of prospects for major college priorities and conferring on strategies.
  • Supports Board members and other leading volunteers in advancement activities, managing engagement of prospects and conferring of strategies.
  • Serves as an active member of the Executive Staff, representing the college as a whole and advising the president in important deliberations.
  • Maintains effective working relationships with other vice presidents and faculty and staff leadership.
  • Works closely with the Office of Marketing and Communications to create advertising and marketing materials to effectively position Millsaps College with donors and nonprofit/educational grant agencies.
  • Provides ongoing leadership, management, evaluation and professional development of the advancement team.

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities

  • Bachelor’s degree required, master’s degree preferred.
  • A minimum of seven years successful experience in fundraising and alumni relations, preferably fundraising in higher education and in a liberal arts college context with high volume of success in closing major or planned gifts and experience in large capital campaign planning and execution.
  • Understanding of national institutional advancement trends and best practices.
  • Track record of successfully coaching individuals in key staff and leadership positions, including trustees, deans and volunteers.
  • Ability to think and act strategically on at least three levels – institutionally as a member of the Executive Staff, divisionally as the leader of Institutional Advancement and individually as a major gift fundraiser.
  • Ability to work collaboratively as well as engage, inspire and motivate others toward ambitious goals.
  • Interest in all aspects of higher education with dedication to promoting Millsaps’ fundraising priorities and the ability to work in an environment with constrained resources.
  • Understanding of church-related, residential liberal arts colleges or ability to learn and assimilate quickly.
  • Excellent skills in personal relationships and oral and written communication.
  • High energy, self-motivated and ability to travel extensively and participate in evening and weekend activities as required.

Application Procedure

Screening of qualified candidates will begin immediately and applications will be accepted until the position is filled. Please send all nominations, inquiries and expressions of interest in confidence and electronically to Storbeck Search Diversified Search Group by emailing millsapsvpia@storbecksearch.com.

EEO Statement

Millsaps College values diversity within our students, faculty and staff, and strives to recruit, develop, and retain the most talented people. Millsaps College does not discriminate in employment on the bases of race, color, creed, religion, sex, sexual orientation, transgender status, gender identity, age, national origin, disability, veteran status or any other legally protected status in accordance with applicable federal, state and/or local laws.

A background check will be conducted for finalist candidates. Employment is contingent upon completion of a successful background check and establishment of identity and verification of employment eligibility as required by the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986. Salary will be commensurate with experience. Millsaps College provides a competitive benefits package.

It is the policy of Millsaps College to provide reasonable accommodations for qualified individuals with disabilities for employment. If you require any accommodations to participate in any part of the hiring process, please contact humanresources@millsaps.edu.

Compliance with Title IX

In compliance with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Millsaps College does not discriminate against any employee, applicant for employment, student or applicant for admission on the basis of sex. Policies and procedures for addressing complaints of discrimination and harassment can be found at https://www.millsaps.edu/resources/title-ix. Reports can be made to the Title IX Team by filing a sexual misconduct or Title IX complaint at this link: https://www.millsaps.edu/resources/title-ix/#file-complaint. Inquiries related to the application of Title IX at Millsaps should be referred to the college’s Title IX team (contact information is found here: https://www.millsaps.edu/resources/title-ix/#coordinators) and external inquires can be made to the Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights (OCR), U.S. Department of Education 400 Maryland Avenue, SW Washington, D.C. 20202-1100 (800) 421-3481, http://www.ed.gov/ocr.

About Millsaps College

Millsaps is an accredited, privately supported, national liberal arts college founded by members of the Methodist Church in 1890. Consistently ranked as one of the best values in higher education, Millsaps has been praised by Colleges That Change LivesThe Princeton Review, Kiplinger’s Personal Finance Magazine, the John Templeton Foundation, The Fiske Guide to Colleges and Insight Magazine.

Millsaps College’s Vision

Building on its motto, Ad Excellentiam, its strong heritage of social justice, freedom of thought and reflection on life’s most important questions, and its central location in the capital city of Mississippi, Millsaps engages students in a transformative learning and leadership experience that results in personal and intellectual growth, commitment to good citizenship in our global society and a desire to succeed and make a difference in every community they touch.

Millsaps College’s Mission

Millsaps College is dedicated to academic excellence, open inquiry and free expression, the exploration of faith to inform vocation and the innovative shaping of the social, economic and cultural progress of our region.

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