Friendraising as a Form of Advancement and Development in CHHS

The expectations for academic deans have been radically changed from exclusively supervising their college’s academic programs to devoting a considerable effort to advancement and development. Consequently, there are increasing expectations that academic deans devote time meeting with donors and potential donors, and seeking sources of external funds.1 Working with donors and potential donors was one of the most attractive features that attracted me to this position. I spend approximately 40% of my time working to develop relationships, both internally and externally in CHHS. In fundraising, I never ever do it alone. I have been fortunate to work collaboratively with Ron Wilson (Senior Director of Development in CHHS). Ron is an active member of the CHHS Administrative Council, a key leadership and advisory team that meets with me two times a month to discuss strategies and college and university related business. With his involvement on this team, Ron is kept abreast of significant developments and news of CHHS. Ron’s involvement on the Administrative Council enables him to build direct relationships and communication channels with Department Heads and Institute Directors.

Ron is a stellar development officer in his planning and conducting our visits with friends and donors of CHHS and potential donors. According to Ron, “Our alums and friends of CHHS have provided tremendous support during the past 10 years.  I look forward to working with Dean Chumbler and visiting with donors to discuss philanthropic interests and priorities for CHHS.”

I prefer not to use the term “fundraising” and instead prefer to use the term friendraising. Since beginning the position last March, I began working diligently with friendraising and have embarked on an engagements to cultivate relationships with alumni, individuals, foundations, and granting organizations. Friends of CHHS can donate their time, talent, or treasure and all 3 forms have great value to our initiatives.[1] My goal has been to create close relationships with individuals, persuading them to think positively about CHHS and imparting in them a desire to assist me in succeeding. I wanted to highlight three recent outcomes:

Dr. and Mrs. Charles and Linda Williams, Dean Neale Chumbler, Drs. Cheryl and Howard Rogers, and Mr. Ron Wilson
Dr. and Mrs. Charles and Linda Williams, Dean Neale Chumbler, Drs. Cheryl and Howard Rogers, and Mr. Ron Wilson

First, in October, friends of CHHS, Dr. Charles and Linda Williams, opened up their home and graciously hosted an alumni event in Gainesville, Florida. Also, during our visit to North Central Florida, we visited with some alumni for the first time in North Central Florida for lunch and then spent an afternoon and dinner with Barbara Roole, Senior Policy Director for the Jessie Ball DuPont Fund, a Charitable and Education Fund. This visit was productive in so many ways. A proposal from CHHS was submitted to the Jessie Ball DuPont Fund to support an important ongoing initiative in the College.

Second, the day before Homecoming, the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences in CHHS received the largest gift in the program’s history from a successful alumnus and respected restaurateur, Joe Micatrotto, Jr.  Mr. Micatrotto and his family made a $150,000 gift to establish the

Micatrotto Fund for Excellence in Hospitality Management. This generous fund will provide incredible learning opportunities in the foods and catering laboratory for the Hospitality Management and Dietetics majors. The dining room in Academic Complex was named for the Micatrottos in recognition of the substantial gift: The Micatrotto Family Dining Room.

Joe Sr., Joe Jr., and Justin Micatrotto

Third, over the last several months, Gordon Ford College of Business Dean, Jeffrey Katz, and I collaborated on a joint venture. More specifically, MyGenetx (a genetics company based in the Franklin, Tennessee area committed to bringing affordable, accessible and actionable laboratory testing to everyone) partnered with CHHS and the Gordon Ford College of Business to initiate a service for the veterans of our community. Through their generosity, we will be taking our mobile health unit in conjunction with the Institute for Rural Health to area VFW and American Legions to provide basic services for veterans.image2

Over the last 8 months, I have had the great pleasure of meeting so many alumni who have had a wonderful personal experience with CHHS and WKU. An important element of my job will be to increase excitement about the mission of CHHS. I want the friends of CHHS to know that I am a dean who has a “listening ear” and fully and completely listens, thereby taking all ideas for the college and programs seriously and respectfully.[2] Further, I am available for input and advice regarding those ideas. I will continue to communicate with CHHS Department and School Heads, faculty, and students to shape our development goals and include these individuals at events and in campus visits with friends of CHHS. As Dean, I will strive to play the vital role of listener, communicator, and translator in order that all constituencies will be better prepared to advance the educational goals of CHHS.2

Warm Regards,



[1] Buller, JL. 2007. “Donors and potential donors.” Pp. 121-27 in The Essential Academic Dean: A Practical Guide to College Leadership. Jossey-Bass: San Francisco.

[2] Timmerman, D. 2014. “Productively working with advancement and development”. Pp. 211-214 in The Resource Handbook for Academic Deans (3rd ed.). Jossey-Bass: San Francisco.

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