Coleman Lew Canny Bowen

Vice President for Univeristy Advancement and Executive Director of DSU Foundation, Inc., Delta State University


Delta State University (DSU) is a public comprehensive institution located in the Mississippi Delta in Cleveland, MS, on 332 acres, with over 2,700 undergraduate and graduate students enrolled. DSU offers 14 baccalaureate degrees in 39 majors. The University also advances student education through certain fields by providing graduate programs of study for 12 master’s degrees, the Education Specialist degree, and the Doctor of Education and the Doctor of Nursing Practice degrees.

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This position will have a dual reporting relationship to the University President and Foundation President, and have 12 direct reports.


The Vice President for University Advancement and Executive Director of DSU Foundation, Inc. is the Chief Advancement Officer for Delta State University and is tasked with managing University development activities and donor and alumni relations to ensure the continued growth and success of the University’s fundraising priorities. The position also serves as the Executive Director of the Delta State University Foundation, Inc., the 501(c)(3) organization that receives, manages, and disburses private funds for the University. This position will serve on the University President’s Cabinet and lead all Foundation governance and board activities. This position will have a dual reporting relationship to the University President and Foundation President in executing these responsibilities.

The University Advancement responsibilities include the following administrative units and functions: Engagement and Alumni Relations, Advancement Services, Academic and Athletic Development, and Donor Relations and Special Events.

The Executive Director of DSU Foundation, Inc.’s responsibilities include the following administrative units and functions:  Donor Commitment Contracting, Endowment Investment and University Disbursement Criteria, Investment Management and Fund Oversight, and Reporting of Financial Activities.


University Advancement Responsibilities:

  • Develop and implement operational goals, strategies, and priorities that support the University’s mission, vision, and visioning principles.
  • Serve as a member of the President’s Cabinet and maintain close working relationships with members of the Foundation Board and Alumni Board as well as key alumni and supporters of Delta State.
  • Advance the University’s mission, vision, and short- and long-term goals in concert with the University President and senior administrative colleagues.
  • Participate in strategic discussions and develop programs to strengthen the University’s financial resources.
  • Work closely with the President in all phases of advancement and campaign leadership activities associated with the $100 million campaign.
  • Develop a culture of philanthropy for Delta State University by building partnerships with the Provost, Deans, Department Heads, and faculty and serving their units.
  • Identify and develop resources, raise funds, and provide effective representation for DSU, its programs, initiatives, alumni, faculty, students, and its overall mission.
  • Oversee and guide the entire range of community and University relationships pertaining to fundraising, advocacy, and development activities for the University.
  • Create and execute fundraising plans and budgets that utilize best practices in areas including but not limited to the endowment, annual fund, gift planning, comprehensive campaigns, major gifts, grants development, corporate and foundation relations, alumni and constituent relations, stewardship, and advancement services to meet fundraising goals.
  • Identify, recruit, and develop a broad-based organization of friends, supporters, and fundraising volunteers who are motivated to assist the University in achieving its mission goals.
  • Ensure dynamic processes in all phases of donor qualification, cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship.
  • Recruit, develop, and manage talented team members by encouraging high morale and the delivery of quality service by each employee within the Division for University Advancement and Foundation through a leadership style that causes employees to strive enthusiastically toward the ultimate goal of significantly increasing constituent involvement and fundraising outcomes.
  • Set clear direction, priorities, and measurable goals for the advancement of professionals and administrative personnel while maintaining a healthy working environment for the entire staff; confirm annual performance objectives, metrics, and standards in an environment of best practices; enhance professional development and career planning opportunities for staff.
  • Oversee income, expenditures, leases, and building maintenance within the Hugh Ellis Walker Alumni Foundation House.
  • Serve as a highly visible representative of Delta State to a wide variety of internal and external audiences with expected strong connections across the state and region.
  • Adhere to the highest ethical standards; convey a professional and positive attitude; and lead the organization in ongoing professional development.
  • Remain competent and current through self-directed professional reading, developing professional contacts with colleagues, attending professional development courses, and attending training and/or courses as directed.

Alumni Relations Responsibilities:

  • Provide leadership for alumni programming, outreach, and engagement that supports Delta State’s mission.
  • Communicate the importance and appreciation of the value of active and informed alumni and their roles in the enhancement of Delta State University.
  • Work with the Director of Alumni Affairs and the Board of the DSU Alumni Association to develop programs and activities to keep alumni engaged with their alma mater.
  • Facilitate programs and initiatives designed to engage University alumni, supporters, and the external community; such programs and initiatives focus on engaging widespread and diverse participation, and intentional efforts are made to include historically underrepresented groups in engagement opportunities.
  • Direct the effort to maintain up-to-date and comprehensive alumni records so that addresses, careers, and individual and personal activities of alumni remain current and demonstrative.
  • Promote the success and contributions of Delta State University’s many outstanding alumni.

Delta State University Foundation Responsibilities:

  • Serve as Executive Director of the Delta State University Foundation, Inc.
  • Communicate timely updates to the President of the Foundation Board on any matters that affect the Foundation Board, whether directly or indirectly.
  • Report to and work in close collaboration with the Foundation Board to create opportunities for gifts from Board members and their contacts.
  • Work closely with the Executive Committee, several other appointed committees, subcommittees, and work groups to raise, invest, and budget in the most beneficial manner private contributions made to the Foundation in support of the University.
  • Facilitate the University’s achievement of its development goals and objectives by serving as the chief fund-raising officer, which includes annual fund campaigns, leadership annual giving, comprehensive campaigns, special-need campaigns, and planned and deferred gifts.
  • Administer the development and implementation of the Foundation’s strategic plan and program improvement objectives; lead all aspects of the development program to support capital needs, annual operations, student scholarship funding, and other University initiatives.
  • Oversee fund management and investments to ensure that Foundation policies are followed and gift funds are managed properly.
  • Perform periodic audits of all restricted and unrestricted funds to ensure they are still relative and being distributed correctly.
  • Diversify and strengthen the University’s donor base by developing and maintaining positive relationships with alumni and donors, focusing effort toward and/or developing proposals for potential donors, including database management, prompt donor acknowledgment no matter the size of gift, communication with donors of any changes in foundation policy, and hosting/sponsoring recognition presentations to donors.
  • Maintain cooperative working relationships with faculty, coaches, and campus departments to identify and cultivate donors.
  • Manage a personal portfolio of major gift prospects for the major gifts campaign and other aspects of giving for the University.
  • Monitor all donor information; provide and present statistical and narrative reports; work collaboratively with the Foundation CFO to prepare budget and financial reports for the Foundation Board and University leadership.
  • Support the Foundation Board and designated Board committee operations; develop agendas, related documentation, and minutes for meetings.
  • Ensures annual detailed reports are sent to donors regarding the status of their endowment and the recipient of any scholarship funds for the year.
  • Recommend and cultivate new Foundation Board members who can provide opportunities for giving and soliciting gifts.
  • Participate in/on a variety of meetings, committees, task forces, and/or other related groups to communicate information regarding the Foundation and its initiatives both on and off campus in the Cleveland community.
  • Oversee selection and ensure the fairness of scholarship selection and awarding processes.
  • Engage with Delta State volunteer leadership.


Compensation will be commensurate with experience including a competitive base salary and competitive benefits package.


Nominations should include the nominee’s full name, position, institution/organization, and email address. Applications should consist of the following documents, to be submitted electronically in .pdf format: 1) a detailed letter of interest addressing the leadership agenda and qualifications as outlined in this profile; 2) a full resume/curriculum vitae with relevant administrative responsibilities and accomplishments; and 3) a list of five professional references, including names, phone numbers, and email addresses, noting the candidate’s relationship for each reference. References will not be contacted until later in the search process and only with the candidate’s permission.

To make a nomination, provide a referral, or for additional information, please use the contact information below. To apply, submit the three application documents described above to:


Coleman Lew Canny Bowen
Chris Shade, Consultant