Vice President for
at Coker University in South
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
For complete information, see the Search
Profile at https://myersmcrae.com/skins/userfiles/files/Coker-VPADV.pdf
About the University
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
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
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
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
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 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
Duties and Responsibilities
- Advance the mission, vision, and short- and long-term goals of
the University in concert with the University President and senior
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- Be willing and able to work evenings and weekends, as
- 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 https://www.coker.edu/strategic-plan/
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
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.
APPLICATION & NOMINATION PROCESS
Confidential inquiries are welcomed, and nominations are
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 Coker-VPAdv@myersmcrae.com
Additional information will be requested upon receipt of
Review of applicant materials will begin December 1,
2021. Applications will be accepted until the
position is filled.
Submit nominations to Coker-VPAdv-Nominate@myersmcrae.com with
complete contact and e-mail information for the individual being
Emily Parker Myers, CEO,
and Brianna Douglas, Consultant,
of Myers McRae Executive Search and
Consulting, are assisting Coker University with this
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