Four finalists announced for VP for Development and Alumni Relations

Tessa Duvall

WKU announced the names of the four finalists for the vacant vice president for Development and Alumni Relations this afternoon.

• Salinda Arthur is currently the Assistant Vice President of Development for Colleges at Virginia Tech University in Blacksburg, Va., and has more than 15 years in fundraising management, according to a WKU press release.

Arthur has also worked as Executive Director of the Chadron State Foundation in Nebraska, Executive Director of Development for the Iowa State Foundation, and Assistant Dean for Ohio University Libraries/Director of Library External Relations.

• John Paul Blair is currently the assistant vice president for Institutional Advancement at WKU and in charge of the Major and Planned Giving Program.

Prior to taking his position at WKU in 1997, Blair was the director of Development for Campbellsville University where he increased the university’s annual cash flow by 102 percent in his five years there.

• Kathryn R. Costello is currently vice president for Development at the University at Buffalo and a partner at the Alexander Haas Martin & Partners fundraising counsel in Atlanta.

In her more than 30 years of experience, Costello has also held senior leadership positions at the University of Georgia, Rice University, University of Maryland, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Southern Methodist University and Vanderbilt University, according to the press release.

• Rosemary M. Thomas is currently vice president of University Advancement and executive director of the Salisbury University Foundation in Salisbury, Md.

Thomas also worked in senior leadership positions at Glenville State College and Fairmont State University in West Virginia, South Carolina State Budget and Control Board and Clemson University and was a founding member of the West Virginia Alumni Directors Association.

The four finalists were selected by a search committee at WKU following a national search, said Alex Downing, President of the College Heights Foundation and chair of the search committee.

In order to chose the finalists, the committee went through an extensive process to narrow down the field, including preliminary interviews, reviewing resumes, checking with references and reading biographical information, Downing said.

Also considered were the applicants’ experience with other institutions and what they could bring to WKU, he said.

“We were very pleased with the pool,” Downing said.

The candidates will each visit WKU to interview with constituency groups on campus, including college deans, the administrative council and President Gary Ransdell, Downing said.

Thomas will visit WKU Friday, with Blair and Costello following on Sept. 14, and Arthur on Sept. 16., according to the press release.

Ransdell said he is delighted with the job the search committee has done.

“I think it’s a great pool,” he said. “It will be a great race for the next two weeks.”

Ransdell said he knows Blair, Costello and Thomas personally and he looks forward to meeting Arthur. Once he has completed the interviews, Ransdell said he anticipates selecting a vice president around Sept. 24.

The top attribute Ransdell said he is seeking is a consummate fundraiser who has experience in running large campaigns. He additionally wants someone who will bring skill and decision making beyond just alumni and development, including academics, student life, and public affairs.

The new vice president will fill the spot of Tom Hiles, former vice president for Institutional Advancement, after he left WKU this summer to take a similar job at Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, Ohio.

Ann Mead, vice president for Finance and Administration, is serving as interim vice president for development and alumni relations until a replacement is hired.