The Office of University Relations works with a broad range of constituents, ranging from alumni, parents, families, Sewanee faculty and staff, friends, churches, foundations, and corporations, to help Sewanee meet its financial needs and institutional goals. To contact a staff member, click here for a contact form. You may make general inquiries or specify a staff member's name from the listing below.

Senior Staff

Deborah Vaughn, Vice President for University Relations

As Vice President for University Relations, Debbie works tirelessly to ensure that the University meets its financial goals with respect to charitable contributions. She heads a professional team with responsibility for marketing, alumni relations, donor relations, and institutional relations, and she inspires the entire University Relations team to do their best for Sewanee.

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

As Associate Vice President for Alumni Relations & Parent Programs, Susan is the first call for many people who know Sewanee best—as former students or as the parents of students. Susan works tirelessly to plan and execute events and programs both on and off campus for our alumni, current and prospective students, their families, and other Univerity friends.

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

As Associate Vice President for Advancement, Terri oversees the Sewanee Parent Fund Association, the 45th and 50th reunion classes, and Exornati alumni. Terri supervises a great team of people in foundation and development communications, donor relations, church relations, major gifts, and content strategy.

Robert Black, C'89, Associate Vice President for Athletics - Major Gifts

As Associate Vice President for Athletics Major Gifts, Robert's work supports individual philanthropy regarding athletics. Robert travels the country on behalf of Sewanee to discover, grow, and build long-lasting relationships for the betterment of the University and its athletic department.

Renee Blair, Prospect Strategy and Advancement Data Analyst

As Prospect Strategy and Advancement Data Analyst for University Relations, Renee maintains the Advancement Office moves management system of donors and prospects. As the longest serving employee in the department, each and every staff member relies on Renee's wealth of institutional knowledge and her ability to lighten anyone's mood.

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

As Executive Assistant to the Vice President for University Relations, Debbie Vaughn, Heather provides high-level administrative and project management support to the entire University Relations department.

University Relations Staff

JESSE BORNEMANN, Assistant Director of Alumni, Annual Giving, Trustee & Church Relations for The School of Theology

As the Assistant Director of Alumni, Annual Giving, Trustee and Church Relations at The School of Theology, Jesse assists with the annual cycle of fundraising for The School of Theology, coordinates the monthly alumni newsletter, the Theolog Gazette, as well as social media channels, supports trustee relations, and facilitates a variety of special projects and events.
 

ALLISON CARDWELL, DIRECTOR OF GIFT PLANNING

As the Director of Gift Planning, Allison works with donors who are interested in making gifts through estate planning or using other assets to make their gifts.

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

As the Stewardship & Donor Relations Coordinator, Kim works closely with the University Relations team to enhance fundraising activities through the cultivation and stewardship of donors. She supports the department in efforts related to prospect management and dedication to increasing revenue goals while working to maintain the highest standards of donor satisfaction and overall growth.
 

SYKES ECKHARD, C'21, ASSISTANT DIRECTOR OF THE SEWANEE FUND

As the Assistant Director of the Sewanee Fund, Sykes supports all Sewanee Fund projects and works closely with each alumni and reunion class, excluding the 45th reunion, 50th reunion, and Exornati alumni, to ensure that they are successful in their individual annual fundraising goals. She also manages the Senior Gift Campaign, helping to educate and celebrate Sewanee's next generation of donors.

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

As Executive Director of the Sewanee Fund and Advancement Services, Whitney plans and oversees all annual giving operations while maintaining and optimizing Sewanee's database of over 40,000 constituents.

GWEN GENTRY, DIRECTOR OF ADVANCEMENT SERVICES

As Director of Advancement Services, Gwen and her team work to ensure your gifts are processed promptly and accurately and Sewanee's information systems are accurate and current.

BRITNEY GREEN, Assistant Director of ADVANCEMENT SERVICES

As Assistant Director of Advancement Services, Britney helps Sewanee better understand our constituents' needs and goals and translates them into effective systems and reports. Her work fosters better communication with alumni and other friends.

ELIZABETH HAYES, Senior GIFT PROCESSING and Bio COORDINATOR

As Senior Gift Processing and Bio Coordinator, Elizabeth processes all gifts that come into the University. She can help you with gift or pledge questions as well as assist with credit card payments and receipts. You can often find her at the soccer field with her daughter.

CHRISTY HODGES, Senior Gift Processing and Bio Coordinator

As Senior Gift Processing and Bio Coordinator,  Christy process all gifts made to the University. Contact her to update Sewanee on your biographical information or for updates on your giving history.

 

 

ALLY HOLLIS, C'16, COMMUNICATIONS AND CONTENT STRATEGIST

As the Communications and Content Strategist for University Relations, Ally serves as the creative lead for all University Relations content and is the project manager for any communications sent from our department. She also works as the liaison between UR and the Office Marketing & Communications.

KIM MARSON, C'04, PROSPECT RESEARCH Analyst

As a Prospect Research Analyst, Kim supports gift officers with thorough and careful research as they initiate and cultivate relationships with Sewanee's generous donors. 

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

Casey serves as the Director of Alumni Relations and Annual Giving for The School of Theology and the Director of Trustee and Church Relations for the University of the South. After graduating from the School of Theology in 2022, Casey joined the University Relations team. He 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.
 

LANA MATTHEWS SAIN, BUSINESS ANALYST FOR ADVANCEMENT SERVICES

As the Business Analyst for Advancement Services, Lana works with the Strategic Digital Infrastructure team to provide Advancement with data and information services needed to help facilitate workflow and enhance the operations and decision-making process for the University Relations team.

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.

SCOTT SMITH, ADVANCEMENT OFFICER

As an Advancement Officer, Scott builds relationships with friends of Sewanee to help match their philanthropic interests with University needs. He visits with alumni and other friends in his travels to California, Florida, Texas, and many other Southeastern and Western states.

BESS TURNER, DIRECTOR OF Parent Philanthropy

As Director of Parent Philanthropy, 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 AND FOUNDATION RELATIONS

As director of corporate and foundation relations, Hilary works to align University needs with the philanthropic goals of foundations and corporations.

JOHN WHALING, C'07, ADVANCEMENT OFFICER

As an Advancement Officer, John works with alumni, parents, and friends of Sewanee to match their philanthropic interests with the University's priorities.