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President and Chief Executive Officer

University of South Dakota Foundation
Vermillion, South Dakota

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Executive Administration Jobs
Presidents & Chancellors, C-Level & Executive Directors
Employment Type
Full Time
Institution Type
Four-Year Institution
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Job Details

The University of South Dakota (USD) Foundation and its board of directors seek an experienced, inspirational and collaborative leader with strong communication skills to serve as its next president and chief executive officer (CEO).

Founded in 1862 on the banks of the Missouri River in Vermillion, South Dakota, the University of South Dakota is the state’s flagship institution and its designated liberal arts university. With an enrollment exceeding 10,000 students and employing more than 400 faculty members, USD has a strong commitment to student outcomes and success. The 274-acre main campus in Vermillion – housing over 130 student organizations and 18 NCAA Division I sports – has undergone $300 million in upgrades over the last decade and been named one of the most beautiful campuses in the nation.

The USD Foundation's mission is to secure private resources to support the University of South Dakota in an effort to increase the excellence of its students’ educational experience. Donors have contributed more than $250 million toward campus improvements and invested millions more in scholarships, faculty support and operating resources. In 2012, USD unveiled Onward: The Campaign for South Dakota, a $250 million campaign focused on four pillars: scholarships, faculty support, facilities and program enrichment. After seven years, the campaign ended in June 2019, with 16,176 donors raising a total of $272.4 million. At the close of FY 2021, the foundation’s endowment was valued at more than $328 million.

In partnership with campus, the foundation seeks to raise private philanthropic funds and manages the USD Alumni Association. Founded in 1889, the USD Alumni Association maintains lifelong connections among alumni and friends to inspire service, leadership, tradition and expressions of loyalty and support of the university.

The incoming president and CEO should be an experienced professional with the interest, ambition and drive to lead the USD Foundation toward higher levels of quality and excellence. The president and CEO should be a skilled leader, manager, team builder, collaborator and fundraiser with the ability to engage alumni, inspire private philanthropy and serve as the chief architect of USD's next comprehensive fundraising campaign. As part of this process, the president and CEO will be expected to more fully integrate foundation and alumni association-related activities with the broader USD campus, working in close coordination with its academic leadership, administrators, faculty, staff, students, volunteers, donors and others. Furthermore, the incoming president and CEO should be prepared to develop strong relationships with alumni and the external community in an effort to more fully engage alumni and friends within the life of the university.

The ideal candidate will be a leader who brings deep experience, credibility, skills and competencies working with volunteer boards, university leadership, community members and major gift donors and alumni. The next president and CEO should have demonstrated accomplishments in strategically leading a team of development and alumni relations professionals toward higher levels of success and a strong track record of fundraising, preferably within a separate 501c3 foundation operating environment. The incoming president and CEO should be an active listener with strong communication skills. Experience partnering with administrative and academic leadership to create best practice fundraising and alumni engagement strategies while building a campus-wide culture of philanthropy will be important. Experience within a higher education setting is preferred. The president and CEO should have superb management skills and possess a collaborative, open, positive and supportive leadership style. A bachelor's degree is required with a minimum of 10 to 15 years of directly related fundraising experience and five or more years of experience in progressively responsible senior-level administrative positions. For more information, please visit

All applications, nominations and inquiries are invited. Applications should include, as separate documents, a CV or resume and a letter of interest addressing the themes in this profile. WittKieffer is assisting the foundation in this search. For fullest consideration, application materials should be received by Monday, November 19. Application materials should be submitted using WittKieffer’s candidate portal. Nominations and inquiries can be directed to:

Zachary A. Smith, Ph.D., Alejandra Gillette-Teran and Natalie Song

[email protected]

The foundation is an equal opportunity employer and supports the University of South Dakota's commitment to Inclusive Excellence and works to build upon its core principles in which "all are valued, welcomed, and respected." By committing to Inclusive Excellence, the foundation continues its tradition of offering a welcoming, validating, and inclusive organization for all, and embed diversity and inclusiveness into all aspects of the foundation, including policies, practices, and procedures. The foundation believes that equal opportunity for all employees contributes to the success of the organization. All employment decisions are made solely on a person's merit and qualifications without discrimination based on race, color, religion, gender, national origin, age, ancestry, physical or mental disability or medical condition, marital status, sexual orientation, or other basis prohibited by law.


The University of South Dakota, founded in 1862, is the state's flagship institution, the oldest university and is designated as the only public liberal arts university in South Dakota. 

Our Mission:

The University of South Dakota offers undergraduate, graduate and professional programs within the South Dakota System of Higher Education. As the oldest university in the state, the University of South Dakota serves as the flagship and the only public liberal arts university in the state.

Our Vision:

To be the best small, public flagship university in the nation built upon a liberal arts foundation.

Our Values:

The University of South Dakota is committed to becoming a regional leader in diversity and inclusiveness initiatives and the practice of Inclusive Excellence.

Colleges, Schools, Divisions:

Campus & Community:

USD is located on an attractive 321-acre campus in Vermillion, a small community nestled along the bluffs above the Missouri River in the southeast corner of South Dakota. Vermillion serves as a safe, welcoming host for the university and recreational and cultural opportunities abound in town, the nearby countryside and in neighboring communities.

New Buildings & Facilities:

Spots Performance Enhancement Facility

  • Includes an arena for basketball and volleyball
  • Outdoor track and soccer complex
  • Science, health and research lab
  • To be completed Fall 2016

Theodore R. and Karen K. Muenster University Center

  • Named in honor of Theodore (Ted) Muenster and his wife, Karen
  • Completed in 2009
  • $22.8 million cost
  • 76,000 square-foot building
  • Financial support came from student fees, donations from University partners Barnes & Noble Booksellers and Aramark (a professional services company), and private donations, including a $5 million gift from the J.B. and M.K. Pritzker Family Foundation
  • Multi-level campus dining area (indoor and outdoor seating)
  • 500-person capacity multipurpose room
  • State-of-the-art conference rooms
  • Meeting and lounge areas
  • Multi-cultural center
  • Offices for Student Government Association & Student Activities Center
  • Barnes & Noble Campus Bookstore
  • Campus Brew
  • An additional 30,000 square feet of dining space was added in 2014
  • Seating capacity expanded to 1200
  • Added retail franchises: Chick-Fil-A, Qdoba, Einstein Brothers and Papa John's
  • Remodeled convenience store space in North Complex
  • Read more

Andrew E. Lee Memorial Medicine and Science Building

  • $37 million project, one of the largest in State history
  • Completed in 2008
  • High-tech research laboratories, classrooms & offices
  • More than 156,000 square-feet
  • Classrooms are wired to enable delivery of educational content online and computers in classrooms and study spaces are fully loaded with essential specialty software
  • Funding for the project included $12.5 million from the Higher Education Facilities Fund, $12.5 million from Campaign South Dakota, $10.2 million from the federal government and $1.8 million from the state. Lead private gifts of $3 million each came from Avera Health, Regional Health and Sanford Health
  • Read more

Beacom School of Business

  • $19.5 million, 73,000 square-foot facility to house Beacom School of Business
  • Large, state-of-the-art auditorium for faculty & guest lecturers
  • Completed in 2009
  • A state-of-the-art research center
  • Student and faculty integration rooms
  • SMART classroom technology
  • Offices for faculty & staff members
  • Funding provided by private donations, student tuition & from the Board of Regents Higher Education Facilities Fund

Slagle Hall Aalfs Auditorium

  • $8.2 million renovation to 38,000 square-foot facility
  • Constructed in 1925, auditorium renovations include a new chiller system, lighting upgrades for performances, enhanced electrical service to building & additional restrooms
  • Completed in 2011
  • Improved acoustics, accessible seating, new stage floors & improved sightlines
  • E.M. Skinner Opus 548 Organ (unaltered) renovated
  • Refurbished venue will host musical theatre, orchestras and musical ensembles, soloists, dance companies & lectures
  • Funded by $3.6 million in private funding and $4.6 million from the Board of Regents Higher Education Facilities Fund

Coyote Village

  • $26.8 million, 195,708 square-foot suite-style apartment complex located south of the DakotaDome
  • Completed in 2010
  • 175 units with 550 beds, including two-and four-bedroom options for students
  • Kitchenettes complete with full-sized refrigerators, a microwave and a sink
  • Private bathrooms shared by no more than two students
  • Fully furnished units
  • Hardwired Internet access for each single-occupied bedroom
  • Wireless access throughout building
  • Convenience store
  • Central laundry facility
  • SMART classroom and online gaming station technology
  • Funding provided by bonds paid for by lease revenues
  • Read more

Wellness Center

  • $15 million, 61,000 square-foot facility
  • Completed in 2011
  • Located north of the Warren M. Lee Center for the Fine Arts
  • State-of-the-art workout equipment, multi-story climbing wall, Multipurpose Activity Court, a large open workout space with treadmills, exercise bicycles, elliptical machines, stretching mats and a weight room space with free weights & strength-training equipment
  • Multiple recreation courts for basketball & volleyball
  • Two racquetball courts
  • Group fitness studios for aerobics, pilates & yoga
  • Three-lane walking/jogging track
  • Read more

Science Laboratory Renovations

  • Major renovation of labs & classrooms in the Arthur M. Pardee Laboratory building ($3.8 million), Akeley-Lawrence Science Center ($5.25 million) and Churchill Haines Laboratory ($6.75 million)
  • Completed in 2011
  • Funded from state and student tuition
  • Pardee Laboratory, constructed in 1914, received exhaust, electrical & plumbing improvements for restoration of research labs and classrooms
  • Akeley-Lawrence Science Center, built in 1962, received renovations to individual research lab spaces, modernized existing classrooms and helped fulfill the State's Deep Underground Science & Engineering Lab (DUSEL) research agenda.

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