President and Chief Executive Officer

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

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.