Alumni Engagement Principal Exec Dir

Lexington, KY
Apr 12, 2017
Institution Type
Four-Year Institution

The University of Kentucky Alumni Association seeks an Associate Vice President for Alumni Engagement and Executive Director of the UK Alumni Association (AVP/ED) to expand upon the association's considerable accomplishments to date and succeed a long-serving and successful incumbent.

The University of Kentucky is one of the nation's foremost public research universities, and its alumni are passionate about, and supportive of, their alma mater. That passion is harnessed and channeled in largest part by the UK Alumni Association, which is charged with engaging with the university's graduates and other external constituencies in mutually-beneficial relationships that lead to support for the university, its faculty, and its students.

This is an exciting time to join the University of Kentucky as it continues its aggressive efforts to position itself among the top public research universities in the country. Founded in 1865 as a land-grant institution adjacent to downtown Lexington, UK is nestled in the scenic heart of the beautiful Bluegrass Region of Kentucky. From its early beginnings, with only 190 students and 10 professors, UK's campus now covers more than 918 acres and is home to 30,000 students and approximately 14,500 employees, including more than 2,300 full-time faculty, and operates an annual budget of nearly $3.5 billion.

The state's flagship university consists of 18 academic and professional colleges where students can choose from more than 200 majors and degree programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels. The student body is diverse, representing more than 100 countries, every state in the nation, and all 120 Kentucky counties. UK students compete successfully for prestigious scholarships and awards, including Fulbright, Astronaut, Truman, Goldwater, Marshall, Udall and Gates.

The UK Alumni Association was founded 128 years ago in 1889. The organization is a self-governed, nonprofit membership organization that serves the University of Kentucky and its many alumni, students, parents and friends. There are 240,000 alumni worldwide which are served by 25 staff members and a 128 member Alumni Association Board. The organization currently deploys a dues model which has a roster of nearly 36,000 members.

The successful candidate will be an exceptional communicator with outstanding relationship-building skills, along with the experience and talent necessary to lead the association through an era of unprecedented change. The incumbent candidate will use his or her talents to create a concerted transformation of the alumni program. He or she will oversee the adoption of a new alumni engagement model to refocus alumni activity around regional and national work, young alumni engagement, attention to affinity and diversity networks, the student continuum from recruitment to career development, and the development of closer ties to alumni efforts in individual UK colleges. The incumbent will be a face of the university and therefore a public figure in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Professional experience in higher education, alumni relations, philanthropy, marketing/communications, or advancement generally would be invaluable. A bachelor's degree (a graduate degree is desirable) is required.

The AVP/ED of the UK Alumni Association is a key leader in cultivating a community of some 240,000 alumni throughout the United States and across the globe. In collaboration with the university president, vice president for philanthropy and chief philanthropy officer, alumni staff and alumni board members, the AVP/ED's mission is to promote engagement and lasting relationships with UK's alumni that lead to volunteerism, advocacy, and financial support. This position reports to the vice president for philanthropy and chief philanthropy officer and has a position on the vice president's senior leadership team.

The executive search firm of Witt Kieffer has been selected to recruit for this position. To be considered, you must complete the UK application and apply to the requisition AND contact the Witt Kieffer executive search firm at

Job Title
Alumni Engagement Principal Exec Dir

Requisition Number

Working Title
Associate Vice President for Alumni Engagement and Executive Director of the UK Alumni Association

Department Name
14000:Office Of Development

Work Location
Lexington, KY

Grade Level

Type of Position

Position Time Status

Click here for more information about equivalencies:

Required License/ Registration/Certification


Physical Requirements

Successful candidate must have ability to travel across the state and on campus for meetings and events.


Days; 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.; Monday - Friday; and with some weekends and evenings.


• Ten years of proven, documented and consecutive experience in alumni affairs, volunteer management, public higher education and board management.
• Ability to recruit, motivate and develop volunteers.
• Exceptional verbal and written communication skills and interpersonal skills, with an ability to coach effectively while developing the talent of the Alumni Association team.
• Exceptional judgment, strong initiative, and a quick learner with ability to think strategically/analytically and the organizational skills to move from vision to action.
• Highly motivated and efficient operator with the ability to manage a significant volume of diverse tasks, activities and projects, including both tactical and strategic projects.
• Highly competent and detail-oriented in executing tasks.
• Possesses the highest standards of ethics, integrity, respect and humility.
• Prior experience working with senior leadership within an organization or company, and a natural orientation toward being proactive, solutions-focused and helpful.
• Ability to be flexible and take an optimistic approach to work.
• Collaborative leadership style that is well suited to management in a complex university setting.
• Maturity, perspective, and credibility necessary to work well with philanthropy colleagues, senior university administrators, and key alumni volunteers.
• Professional manner with all internal and external university constituents.
• Ability to plan, build, and manage budgets wisely.
• Ability to perform well in stressful situations and to handle conflict with poise and diplomacy.
• A bachelor's degree is required. A graduate degree is desirable.

Does this position have supervisory responsibilities?

Preferred Education/Experience

MA or Ph.D

Deadline to Apply

University Community of Inclusion

The University of Kentucky is committed to a diverse and inclusive workforce by ensuring all our students, faculty, and staff work in an environment of openness and acceptance. We strive to foster a community where people of all backgrounds, identities, and perspectives can feel secure and welcome. We also value the well-being of each of our employees and are dedicated to creating a healthy place to work, learn and live. In the interest of maintaining a safe and healthy environment for our students, employees, patients and visitors the University of Kentucky is a Tobacco & Drug Free campus.

As an Equal Opportunity Employer, we strongly encourage veterans, individuals with disabilities, women, and all minorities to consider our employment opportunities.

Any candidate offered a position may be required to pass pre-employment screenings as mandated by University of Kentucky Human Resources. These screenings may include a national background check and/or drug screen.

Posting Specific Questions

Required fields are indicated with an asterisk (*).

  1. * Where did you first see this position advertised other than on UK's Online Employment System?
    • Executive search firm of Witt/Kieffer
    • Diverse Issues in Higher Education
    • A Colleague, Friend and/or Family Member
    • None of the Above

Applicant Documents

Required Documents
  1. Resume
  2. Cover Letter
Optional Documents


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