Candidate for Vice President of Institutional Advancement Speak on Campus

Mark Arstein speaks on campus. Photo credit: Hunter Hall

On Jan. 19 and 20, the four finalists for Vice President of Institutional Advancement all had the opportunity to present their visions for how the department should be run. The Office of Institutional Advancement is primarily responsible for fundraising and alumni relations.

Joakim (Kim) Nyoni

The first candidate to speak was on Wednesday Joakim Nyoni, Associate Vice President of Development at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas. 

Born in Tanzania but raised in Nebraska, Nyoni received his bachelor and master degrees from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Between graduation and his position at UNLV, he worked in institutional development positions at UC-Berkeley, Utah State University, the University of Arizona and University of Missouri-Columbia. 

Nyoni began by establishing his personal values that he would bring into the position; namely showing integrity, being authentic, connecting to others, helping others and being fair in all his dealings.

In potentially leading the development department, he listed three principles that guide him in all his decision making: Be mission driven, donor-centric and outcome focused.

Nyoni really reiterated his belief that the mission of institutional development is purely to do anything that will help the university. In his view, the whole existence of the department is to help faculty do their jobs more effectively. 

His personal vision for UVU would be to build the brand of the school and base of high-level donors, while acting ethically. He also committed to not doing anything that would be detrimental for the university.

Those wishing to view the full speech and Q&A can do so here.

Michele Cesca

Following Mr. Nyoni was Michele Cesca, Vice President of University Relations & Development at California State University-Long Beach. 

Ms. Cesca was raised in California and has worked at multiple growing universities in the state. She said that UVU, “feels like home to me.”

In her speech, Cesca spent much of the time speaking about both alumni engagement and annual giving practices.

In regard to alumni engagement, she spoke about how CSU-LB dissolved its alumni association during her time. By dissolving the association, the focus was shifted from ‘what’s in it for me’ to ‘what can I do to help the university,’ according to Ms. Cesca.

Though dissolving the association did help boost genuine alumni engagement at her current university, she did not say whether the same change would be made at UVU. Rather, she said that she would do whatever worked to help here.

Cesca also spoke on annual giving practices, remarking that everyone is a fundraiser in their own way. She found that by showing donors exactly what they were helping with their contribution, donors would be more inclined to give.

View the whole speech and Q&A here.

Kevin Rice

The first speaker on Wednesday was Kevin Rice, Chief Operations and Chief Development Officer for the Huntsman School of Business at Utah State.

While the themes were roughly the same, as is to be expected from candidates for this particular position, Rice focused heavily on personal relationships. His belief is that if the university makes a real investment in its students while they are there, they will in turn support

the university after graduation. 

In his speech, he told stories about two Utah State professors, Ross Peterson and Ivan Palmblad. According to Rice, both of the professors signed up to teach elective courses to be in direct contact with students who weren’t in their programs.

As the story went, Peterson would meet individually with each student in order to maintain contact with them after they finished with his class. He would do so in the form of handwritten notes and phone calls for years afterward.

Palmblad, Rice said, would learn the name and major of each and every student he would teach, and would never forget them. 

Years later, at the end of a fundraising campaign, it was found that students who had taken classes from Peterson and Palmblad were some of the highest contributors to the campaign. 

Outside of those stories, Rice also spoke on the importance of capital campaigns – or fundraising campaigns – in helping universities move forward. The speech ended with a reminder to faculty that, “the future is now,” and that the campaigns run today will help the university for years in the future.

The live streamed version of the speech and Q&A can be viewed here.

Mark Arstein

The final speaker in the series was Mark Arstein, Senior Executive Director of Advancement for the University of Utah’s health system.

Rather than speaking on theory, Mr. Arstein focused on how exactly he would conduct things if he were to be offered the position. In his view, the possible position at UVU would fit with his experience starting the advancement program at Boise State University. 

Arstein began by saying that UVU’s mission as an integrated university and community college gave the development department a lot of room to work with. He described the opportunity to form an advancement staff as transformative.

In his speech, Arstein focused heavily on the relationship between the university and its donors. He said, “in the same way we develop a robust giving program, we need to base that on data.” 

It was clear from his speech that he would like to enhance communication with donors, where donors would know exactly what they’re donating to. “Rather than giving to the university, donors should essentially be giving through the university,” Arstein said.

Like the other speakers in the series, Mr. Arstein also made a point to speak about being purpose driven and outcome oriented.

Arstein also spoke about a potential inaugural fundraising campaign for the department. In contrast to the other speakers, his speech was heavy on specifics of what he would do if hired by the university.

Those wishing to view the whole speech and Q&A can do so here.

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