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Vice President for Advancement

Coker University
South Carolina, United States
Salary Not specified
Closing date
Dec 16, 2021

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Position Type
Employment Type
Full Time
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Vice President for Advancement

at Coker University in South Carolina


COKER UNIVERSITY, a student-centered, comprehensive university in South Carolina, seeks a dynamic and proven Advancement administrator to serve as Vice President for Advancement. This senior officer is responsible for fund development on behalf of the University and works closely with the President to accomplish the philanthropic goals for Coker. This work includes donor research and cultivation, fundraising and development requests, and advancement activities.


For complete information, see the Search Profile at


About the University 


Coker University is ranked among the Best Colleges in the South by U.S. News & World Report as well as The Princeton Review.  The University was recognized by Washington Monthly as the top college in South Carolina for value. Dr. Natalie J. Harder became the 17th and first female president of Coker University on June 1, 2020. A nationally recognized leader in higher education, she is known for building a culture of excellence and integrity and placing an emphasis on cross-disciplinary collaboration and community engagement.


     Founded in 1908, Coker’s campus is in downtown Hartsville, South Carolina, and covers 15 acres of beautiful grounds and Georgian-style buildings, several of which are in the National Register of Historic Places. Iconic Davidson Hall, built in 1910, is both the literal and physical heart of campus. 


     Coker is a close-knit, supportive community, where faculty serve as mentors as well as educators. With an average class size of 12, the Coker experience is about actively creating the college story that’s tailored to the needs of its students. Both faculty and staff are committed to preparing students with the confidence and practical life skills they need to reach their personal best in college and beyond.


     While students from South Carolina comprise approximately 70 percent of Coker’s 2021 enrollment, the 1,000-member student body represents 33 states and 17 nations. The student population is about 60 percent female and 30 percent African American.


     Among Coker’s 61 full-time faculty members, more than 85 percent hold a doctorate or the highest equivalent degree in their field. With a student-to-faculty ratio of 17:1, faculty members are both educators and mentors to their students.


     Coker offers bachelor’s and master’s degree programs, with a well-rounded liberal arts education founded on hands-on experience. Its signature round table learning brings students and professors together in small groups for discussion and exploration. The traditional undergraduate program has more than 30 areas of study, including pre-law, pre-med, and other pre-professional tracks as well as the option through Coker’s Interdisciplinary Studies program to design a course of study to meet a special goal. 


     A new nursing degree program will be offered in fall of 2022. In October, the South Carolina Board of Nursing approved the University’s plans to offer a bachelor’s degree in nursing (BSN). Coker has begun recruiting students for the new program.


     For technical school graduates seeking to further their education, Coker has 2+2 agreements with six regional technical colleges that provides students who have earned an associate degree a seamless pathway to completing a bachelor’s degree at the University. All graduates from partnering institutions receive a $2,000-a-year scholarship for up to three years, and each student is assigned a student success coach to help them navigate life as a Coker student.

     The University’s graduate programs are 100% online and can be completed in 15-18 months. The programs operate on an accelerated schedule—one course every six weeks with approximately 10 courses per program. More than 100 students are enrolled in the three master’s degree programs.


     Beyond the classroom, students have opportunities to find their niche, get involved, and become a leader. More than 30 student organizations offer everything from intramurals to choral groups to an astronomy club. The Sory Boathouse and Clubhouse provides students with access to Prestwood Lake. Kalmia Gardens, Coker’s nearby 30-acre botanical gardens, is prefect for hiking, studying, and enjoying outdoor recreation.


     The Coker Cobras compete in 24 NCAA Division II intercollegiate sports as a member of the South Atlantic Conference. The campus includes a 22-acre complex for outdoor sports. The state-of-the-art DeLoach Center, which opened in 2014, features a 1,908-seat gymnasium, an auxiliary gym, interactive classrooms, a student-athlete only weight room, a fitness center, athletic offices, and more.


The Opportunity


The Office of Advancement is responsible for resource development through the solicitation and management of gifts, including, but not limited to, the annual fund, alumni and constituent relations and engagement, corporate and foundation relations, major and estate gift planning, grant development, gift processing and stewardship, and event and campus venue coordination. The Vice President of Advancement recruits, develops, and leads a team of professionals focused on the primary goal of significantly increasing constituent involvement and fundraising outcomes to meet goals that advance the mission and vision of the University.


Duties and Responsibilities

  • Advance the mission, vision, and short- and long-term goals of the University in concert with the University President and senior administrative colleagues.
  • Work closely with the President in all phases of advancement and campaign leadership activities.
  • Maintain a dynamic portfolio of as many as 75 high net worth individuals and secure major, capital, and planned gifts, as well as advanced annual gifts and endowment support.
  • Participate in strategic discussions and develop programs to strengthen the financial resources of the University.
  • Create and execute fundraising plans that utilize best practices in annual, major, and planned gift programs to meet fundraising goals.
  • Ensure dynamic processes in all phases of donor qualification, cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship.
  • Assist in the hiring, training, and managing of direct reports of the Advancement team toward accountable, goal-oriented outcomes.
  • Engage and enhance the culture of philanthropy on campus while maintaining cooperative working relationships with faculty, coaches, and campus departments whose cooperation is essential to effective outreach and fundraising.
  • Provide leadership to constituent relations programs in the areas of alumni relations, parent relations, and other key constituent relations.
  • Implement effective internal and external messaging and methods of advancement communication.
  • Serve as a University advocate in the community.
  • Embody values of caring, compassion, justice, integrity, competence, and affirmation.
  • Be willing and able to travel extensively within the region to cultivate and work with donors and to represent the University.
  • Be willing and able to work evenings and weekends, as needed.
  • Handle all other duties as assigned by the President.


Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities


The selected candidate will have demonstrated leadership and accomplishments in advancement with a track record of fundraising success, especially in campaign planning and execution and major gift solicitations. Strong organizational, supervisory, and leadership capabilities are required. 


     The finalist will have proven success in the solicitation of numerous major and principal gifts and present a history of building an advancement program with solid fundraising performance. Exemplary interpersonal skills are essential as well as the ability to interact favorably with volunteers and donors of all backgrounds.


Education and Experience


A bachelor’s degree is required; a master’s degree is preferred. A minimum of five years of experience as a senior-level advancement professional education is preferred. Experience must demonstrate the ability to work effectively with many diverse constituencies in a university environment. Essential characteristics include a strong work ethic, competitive nature, personal integrity, detail-oriented, emotional intelligence, a sense of humor, excellent and persuasive communication skills, professional demeanor, and strategic thinker and planner. 


Strategic Plan 2021-2025


In May of 2021, Coker University formally launched its new strategic plan to ensure that it continues to educate, innovate, and prepare future generations for the opportunities ahead.  With this strategic plan as its guide, Coker University is focused on its future, prioritizing those actions and investments that are most relevant and accessible for students, while providing Coker alumni with even stronger paths to success. Coker is committed to meeting the changing needs of its students and community. Learn more about the plan at is available at


Hartville—A Small Town with a Big Heart


Located in South Carolina’s northeast region, Hartsville is one of the most dynamic small towns in the South. Home to major industries, charming neighborhoods, and a vibrant downtown, the city of 7,700 residents has been recognized as an All-American City twice—1996 and 2016. 


     Downtown is a five-minute walk from the center of Coker’s campus, making it convenient to enjoy delicious dishes and beverages of the restaurants and coffee shops, participate in the ongoing family-friendly activities and events, and shop at local stores. The weekend Farmer’s Market offers not only fresh foods, but also time to visit with neighbors and friends.


     Hartsville is a center of industry and education. Sonoco Products Company, founded in 1899, is a multinational corporation with 20,000 employees operating more than 300 plants across 33 countries, is headquartered in Hartsville. In addition to the educational offerings of Coker, the city is home to the South Carolina Governor’s School for Science and Mathematics, a public, boarding high school for students in grades 11 and 12, that concentrates on science and mathematics, but offers the full spectrum of the humanities as well.


     Hartsville has mild falls and winters, averaging 69°F, allowing outdoor recreation year-around. When seeking fun adventures at some of the South’s most popular destinations, Charlotte, Columbia, Charleston, and Myrtle Beach are all within a two-hour drive.




Confidential inquiries are welcomed, and nominations are invited.



Application packet must include: a) A letter of application that addresses the responsibilities and qualifications of the position, b) Current resume, and c) At least four references with full contact information including e-mails (References will not be contacted without consent from applicant.)

Submit application packet (preferably as PDFs) to


Additional information will be requested upon receipt of application.


Review of applicant materials will begin December 1, 2021. Applications will be accepted until the position is filled.




Submit nominations to with complete contact and e-mail information for the individual being nominated.


Emily Parker Myers, CEO, and Brianna Douglas, Consultant, of Myers McRae Executive Search and Consulting, are assisting Coker University with this search. 


Coker University, in compliance with all applicable state and federal laws, including Titles VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, age, marital status, veterans or military status, or against individuals with disabilities, or other legally protected classifications in the areas of employment, admission, financial aid or access to educational or extracurricular programs, activities or facilities.


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