University Relations

Vision

The vision of University Relations is to create deep and lasting relationships with our constituents while encouraging financial investments to enhance overall support for the student experience.

Mission

The mission of University Relations is to inspire our diverse group of alumni, families, and friends to engage with Sewanee by volunteering their time, talents, and financial resources in support of student education and the development of our institution. University Relations seeks to convert the engagement of all stakeholders to meaningful philanthropic commitments, leading to sustained financial support of the University.

Senior Staff

Deborah Vaughn, Vice President for University Relations

As Vice President for University Relations, Debbie works to enrich and extend Sewanee's legacy of world-class academic and co-curricular programming by cultivating strong financial partnerships with a broad range of constituents, including alumni, Sewanee parents and families, and foundations and corporations. She leads a dedicated team of development professionals, generating strategies for growing scholarships and program endowments, annual gifts, and capital support, among other critical pools of funding.

Susan Askew, C'86, Associate Vice President for Alumni Relations & Parent Programs

As Associate Vice President for Alumni Relations & Parent Programs, Susan plays a central role in planning and executing events and programs, both on and off campus, for our alumni, current and prospective students, their families, and other University friends.

Terri Griggs Williams, C'81, Associate Vice President for Advancement

As Associate Vice President for Advancement, Terri supervises a great team of people in institutional and individual donor relations, church relations, major gifts, and content strategy. She additionally oversees the 45th and 50th reunion classes and Exornati alumni.

Heather Brewer, Executive Assistant to the Vice President for University Relations

As Executive Assistant to the Vice President for University Relations, Heather provides high-level administrative and project management support to Vice President for University Relations Deborah Vaughn, while facilitating communication among the entire University Relations team.

University Relations Staff

Mary Catherine Alexander, Assistant Director of Alumni, Annual Giving, Trustee & Church Relations for The School of Theology

As Assistant Director of Alumni, Annual Giving, Trustee & Church Relations for The School of Theology, Mary Catherine assists with the seminary's annual cycle of fundraising, coordinates the monthly Theolog Gazette newsletter, maintains Sewanee Theologs social media channels, supports trustee relations, and facilitates a variety of special projects and events.

Renee Blair, Prospect Strategy & Advancement Data Analyst

As Prospect Strategy & Advancement Data Analyst, Renee maintains the Advancement Office moves management system of donors and prospects.

JESSE BORNEMANN, Advancement & Communications Content Strategist

As Advancement & Communications Content Strategist, Jesse serves as the creative lead for University Relations outreach. Her work includes producing the bimonthly Philanthropy & Engagement newsletter, collaborating with gift officers to develop case statements and donor materials, maintaining University Relations webpages, and assisting the Sewanee Fund with annual gift solicitations.

ALLISON CARDWELL, DIRECTOR OF GIFT & ESTATE PLANNING

As the Director of Gift & Estate Planning, Allison works with donors who are interested in leveraging their assets to support Sewanee. She facilitates estate planning, IRA rollover gifts, charitable annuities, and other pathways for individual philanthropy.

Kate Cheever, C'23, Advancement & Events Coordinator

As Advancement and Events Coordinator, Kate coordinates and executes University Relations events for Sewanee's donors and constituents. Additionally, Kate supports 45th and 50th Reunion classes and assists with parent philanthropy and engagement.

WHITNEY FRANKLIN, Executive Director of the Sewanee Fund & Advancement Services

As Executive Director of the Sewanee Fund & Advancement Services, Whitney takes the lead in conceptualizing, planning, and executing all annual giving operations, including the University's Tiger Tuesday campaign and other development outreach. Additionally, she oversees the maintenance and optimization of Sewanee's main database, which contains more than 40,000 constituents.

GWEN GENTRY, DIRECTOR OF ADVANCEMENT SERVICES

As Director of Advancement Services, Gwen directs efforts to ensure that gifts are processed promptly and accurately and that Sewanee's information systems are up to date.

BRITNEY GREEN, Assistant Director of ADVANCEMENT SERVICES

As Assistant Director of Advancement Services, Britney helps Sewanee better understand constituents' needs and goals and translates them into effective systems and reports.

MAE ANNE HALE, Assistant Director of Philanthropy

As Assistant Director of Philanthropy, Mae Anne assists with donor research, communication, and stewardship for the Director of Corporate & Foundation Relations and the Director of Gift Planning.

ELIZABETH HAYES, Senior Advancement Services Coordinator

As Senior Advancement Services Coordinator, Elizabeth focuses on processing all gifts made to the University. Her work includes answering gift and pledge questions and assisting with credit card payments and receipts.

CHRISTY HODGES, Senior Advancement Services Coordinator

As Senior Advancement Services Coordinator, Christy works to maintain current biographical records for Sewanee's constituents. Her responsibilities include updating contact information for the University's alumni and friends and documenting donors' giving histories.

KIM MARSON, C'04, PROSPECT RESEARCH Analyst

As Prospect Research Analyst, Kim supports gift officers with comprehensive research as they initiate and cultivate relationships with Sewanee's donor community.

Kim Conkell Naskedov, C'12, Stewardship & Donor Relations Coordinator

As Stewardship & Donor Relations Coordinator, Kim focuses on broadening and deepening Sewanee's relationship with our donor community. Her work includes overseeing gift acknowledgements, endowment reporting, and coordinating other stewardship efforts.

Jesse-Katharine Owens McKee, Assistant Director of The Sewanee Fund

As Assistant Director of the Sewanee Fund, Jesse-Katharine collaborates with the Executive Director of the Sewanee Fund to increase annual giving. She also works with volunteers and reunion classes from 1974-1999 to encourage support.

THE REV. CASEY PERKINS, T'22, Director of Alumni, Annual Giving, Trustee & Church Relations for The School of Theology

As Director of Alumni, Annual Giving, Trustee & Church Relations for The School of Theology, Casey is responsible for overseeing annual giving to the School of Theology, for building and maintaining relationships with seminary and EfM alumni, and for leading efforts to make Sewanee more visible to the broader Episcopal Church. Additionally, he manages all communications with the University's Board of Trustees and with Episcopal parishes and dioceses.

LANA MATTHEWS SAIN, BUSINESS ANALYST FOR ADVANCEMENT SERVICES

As the Business Analyst for Advancement Services, Lana works with the University's Strategic Digital Infrastructure team to provide Advancement with data and information services. Through her role, she facilitates University Relations' workflow and enhances decision-making.

Bailey Schmidt, Gift & Bio Processing Coordinator

As Gift & Bio Processing Coordinator, Bailey helps with processing gifts made to the University and maintaining current biographical records for Sewanee's constituents. Her responsibilities include assisting with recording gifts received and updating contact information for the University's alumni.

SANDY SMART, Senior MAIL CENTER COORDINATOR

As Senior Mail Center Coordinator, Sandy oversees all outgoing campus mail, which includes list management, addressing, stuffing, and assisting Advancement Services with special projects.

BESS TURNER, DIRECTOR OF Parent Philanthropy & Donor Events

As Director of Parent Philanthropy & Donor Events, Bess works to increase parent engagement and improve overall communication between the University and our parent community. In addition to overseeing the work of the Sewanee Parents’ Council, Bess travels throughout the southeastern states, meeting with Sewanee families to align their philanthropic interests with the University's priorities.

HILARY DOW WARD, ED.D., DIRECTOR OF CORPORATE & FOUNDATION RELATIONS

As Director of Corporate & Foundation Relations, Hilary oversees the University's grantseeking, working to enhance Sewanee's mission through strategic partnerships with corporations and foundations.

JOHN WHALING, C'07, SENIOR GIFT OFFICER

As Senior Gift Officer, John works with alumni, parents, and friends of Sewanee to match their philanthropic interests with the University's priorities. He also leads fundraising efforts for our athletic department and our Domain optimization project, and oversees training for our Sewanee Fund annual giving officers.