The Opportunity

Southwestern University continues to gain in stature as one of the top national liberal arts universities in the U.S. Situated in the fastest-growing city in the country and in one of the hottest tech economies, Southwestern’s students enjoy living and learning in an area Bankrate calls the number one location in quality of life and the number one place to launch a career. Moreover, Princeton Review ranks Southwestern’s career services team in the top five nationally and the number one private university in Texas to make an impact—with a 100% medical school acceptance rate in the latest graduating class, SU’s faculty and staff work closely with students to ensure they are prepared to excel in any pursuit.

Reporting to President Laura Skandera Trombley and serving as a member of the senior cabinet, the Vice President for University Relations (VPUR) will lead a comprehensive advancement division as the institution continues to invest in its fundraising and alumni relations operation. The incoming VPUR will lead at an institution which boasts many firsts. Situated on the northern edge of the Austin metro on 701 beautiful Central Texas acres, Southwestern is ranked the largest landowner of all private higher education institutions in Texas. As Princeton Review’s number one private university in Texas for green colleges, Southwestern cares for the land through sustainable practices, including LEED Gold-rated buildings, a campus powered by 100% renewable energy, and athletic fields nourished by recycled water. SU is signatory to the College and University Presidents Climate Commitment

It is upon this foundation of history and success that the new VPUR will make an even greater impact for the University and its future. A successful candidate will bring demonstrated experience fundraising at major and principal gift levels as well as experience leading within a mission-centered liberal arts environment. Partnering with an extraordinarily talented and fundraising-savvy president, the newly appointed VPUR will have the opportunity to envision the next stage of growth for a University Relations Division with significant untapped potential at a university with a storied history and its best days ahead.


Southwestern University is committed to undergraduate liberal education involving both the study of and participation in significant aspects of our cultural heritage, expressed primarily through the arts, the sciences, the Institutions, and the professions of society. As a teaching-learning community, Southwestern encourages rigorous inquiry and scholarship, creative teaching, and the expression of free human life. The University seeks to involve the student in finding a personal and social direction for life, developing more sensitive methods of communication, cultivating those qualities and skills which make for personal and professional effectiveness, and learning to think clearly and make relevant judgments and discriminations.

Core Values

  • Cultivating academic excellence.
  • Promoting lifelong learning and a passion for intellectual and personal growth.
  • Fostering diverse perspectives.
  • Being true to oneself and others.
  • Respecting the worth and dignity of persons.
  • Encouraging activism in the pursuit of justice and the common good.


Direct Supervisor: President of Southwestern University

Department: University Relations


Primary Duties:

  • Works closely with the President and President’s staff on all development and external matters, including messaging, fundraising solicitations, presidential scheduling, donor stewardship, and events.
  • Works closely with the President and the Board of Trustees in the cultivation and stewardship of major donors, recruitment of new donors, and creation of high impact events.
  • Serves as a visible and credible representative of the University to external constituents.
  • Leads the development and successful execution of major capital campaigns.
  • Directs the fundraising, alumni relations, parent relations, events, and auxiliary offices with delegation to Associate Vice Presidents when appropriate.
  • Develops annual integrated fundraising and outreach strategy aligned with University priorities.
  • Directs the preparation of regular fundraising reports aligned with industry best practices for the President and the Board of Trustees.
  • Serves as administrative liaison to the University Relations Committee of the Board of Trustees.
  • Collaborates with the Marketing and Communications Department to develop an integrated strategy for expanding the University’s visibility and reach in targeted regions of the country.
  • Provides oversight and vision to the alumni and parent relations offices.
  • Develops clear goals for and conducts regular evaluations of University Relations staff.
  • Ensures University Relations staff and systems are aligned with best practices in the industry and provides adequate professional development support for ongoing improvement.
  • Provides oversight and ensures integrated engagement of auxiliary services.

Additional Duties:

  • Participates as ex-officio, member, or other related capacity of various University Councils and Committees.
  • Actively participates in professional associations.
  • Makes public presentations as a recognized leader in the field.
  • Performs other duties as assigned.

Position Requirements:

  • Bachelors and masters degrees from accredited institutions.
  • Ten years of experience in progressively more responsible positions within a fundraising department of a college/university.
  • Demonstrated success securing major gifts from both individuals and foundations.
  • Sophisticated understanding of all aspects of fundraising, including planned giving, major gifts, grants, annual giving, and capital campaigns.
  • Demonstrated ability to use events, communications, alumni and parent networks and strategic outreach to support and expand fundraising efforts.
  • Understanding and commitment to a liberal arts education, including the ability to relate to a liberal arts faculty and all other University constituents.
  • Demonstrated ability to unite the various constituencies represented within the University community.
  • Demonstrated record of an open, collegial management style.
  • Demonstrated ability to build a strong, effective team.
  • Ability to develop and publicly express a strong vision for the future with persistence, including implementation of the 5-Year Tactical Plan.
  • Ability to provide specific examples of decision-making which demonstrates intellectual integrity and honesty.
  • Ability to be creative and engage others in creative conversations.
  • Recognition as a leader in the field of advancement.
  • Demonstrated understanding of industry standard best practices in fundraising and development
  • Sophisticated knowledge of relevant fundraising software systems aligned with institutional needs.
  • Proven supervisory and management skills.
  • Demonstrated leadership skills, including a strong work ethic.
  • Willingness to adhere to the University’s core values.
  • Possess excellent interaction and communication skills (verbal and written).
  • Have knowledge, understanding, and acceptance of cultural differences and the diversity within the campus and community.
  • Demonstrated professional manner with all internal and external University constituents.
  • Ability to be flexible, adjust to fluctuating priorities, and produce a reliable work product.
  • Proven ability to perform well in stressful situations.
  • Ability and willingness to travel utilizing standard, commercial, and/or personal modes of transportation.
  • Ability to attend work consistently and maintain a regular work schedule.

Preferred Position Requirements:

  • Experience with a successful major comprehensive
  • Ten-plus years management experience, with two or more at a senior management level in a university relations department of a college/university.

Work Supervision:
This position involves responsibility for others:

• Delegation of work.

• Budget.

• Evaluate job performance and make salary recommendations.

• Promotions.

• Hire/terminate staff as appropriate with approval.

• Other related employment actions.

Southwestern University is an Equal Employment Opportunity employer

Southwestern University is an E-VERIFY Employer

All employees must agree to abide by the provisions of the Staff Handbook and any other guidelines, policies, procedures, and practices of the University as they may be modified.

This job description is intended as a summary and, as such, may not reflect all duties and requirements. Southwestern University reserves its sole right, and obligation, to regularly review job duties and responsibilities and revise job descriptions accordingly as a normal course of business at any time and with or without input from employees. This process, in general, is not one which any employee may grieve, but is one which may include the employee’s input and is normally coordinated through the Human Resources department.

Lindauer, a global search and talent firm, has been retained to conduct this search on behalf of Southwestern University. Consideration of candidates will continue until the position is filled.


Candidates should submit, in confidence, a resume and cover letter. Communications, nominations, applications, and inquiries concerning this search should be directed to Jill Lasman, Senior Executive Vice President and Managing Director, at and/or Alexandra Barber, Consultant, at


Prior to submitting your resume for this position, please read it over for accuracy. Lindauer does verify academic credentials for its candidates, and our clients frequently conduct background checks prior to finalizing an offer.

To see the complete job advertisement please visit: