WKU names new VP for development

Tessa Duvall

Kathryn Costello loves to ballroom dance and to jitterbug.

WKU thinks Costello has the right moves to help the university surpass its capital fundraising goal of $200 million by 2010.

Today, WKU named Costello as the new vice president for Development and Alumni Relations.

President Gary Ransdell said she’s “one of the most respected professionals in American higher education.”

Costello has been in higher education for more than 30 years and has been involved with campaigns to raise a combined total of $1 billion, according to the release.

WKU may have never hired someone with these kinds of credentials before, Ransdell said.

Costello’s main task will be raising money toward the current capital campaign goal, Ransdell said. WKU has already raised more than $160 million.

Costello said she looks forward to working with the staff and alumni at WKU.

WKU has a great team of people and has seen tremendous results in transforming the campus and in fundraising, she said.

“Because of the location, the people I know, the things the president wants to do in the years to come, I felt like it was a good fit with my experience,” she said.

Costello will come to WKU on Jan. 1 from the University at Buffalo in New York, where she has been vice president for Development since 2006, according to a WKU press release.

Costello and President Gary Ransdell worked together at Southern Methodist University in Dallas from 1982 to 1986, and Costello was the consultant who conducted the feasibility study for the ongoing capital campaign at WKU, according to the release.

Ransdell said he has great respect for Costello and looks forward to working with her again.

It was Costello’s experience at universities that have “operated at a very high level with development and alumni relations” that ultimately set her apart from the other candidates, Ransdell said.

In addition to the University at Buffalo, Costello has also been a vice president at SMU, University of Maryland, Rice University and University of Georgia, according to the release.

She’s also a partner at the Alexander Haas Marting & Partners fundraising counsel in Atlanta, according to the release.

Costello was one of four finalists announced on Sept. 8. following a national search.

Ann Mead, vice president for Finance and Administration, has served as interim vice president for Development and Alumni Relations since the position became vacant this summer, when Tom Hiles, former vice president for Institutional Advancement, left WKU.

Hiles took a similar position at Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, Ohio.