San Jose State University - Vice President for University Advancement

CA, San Jose
Education - Development/Advancement/Foundation

San José State University (SJSU) seeks an experienced, creative and inspirational leader to serve as its next vice president for university advancement (VPUA).

Founded in 1857, San José State University is the oldest public institution of higher education on the West Coast. San José State is located in the heart of California’s Silicon Valley and is the fifth largest of the 23 campuses of the California State University (CSU) system, the largest four-year university system in the United States. As one of the 200 top research universities in the nation, San José State has robust NSF and NIH-funded research programs and one of the highest levels of research funding in the CSU system. San José State also offers rigorous coursework to more than 35,000 undergraduate and graduate students in seven colleges.

Since the arrival of President Mary Papazian in 2016, San José State has experienced a transformational shift in culture and momentum as it seeks to become a pre-eminent urban public university. The tone on campus is one of vibrancy and optimism for the future. With record-breaking enrollment and a renewed commitment to excellence in teaching and research, the campus is poised to grow and innovate, strengthening its connection to the surrounding San José and Silicon Valley community and further fulfilling its social justice mission of access and equity. A new strategic plan—Transformation 2030—was released in the spring of 2019, laying the groundwork for the next ten years of unparalleled growth.

Reporting directly to President Papazian and joining a collegial and engaged senior leadership team, the incoming VPUA will be responsible for establishing a comprehensive fundraising and alumni relations program that supports the new campus-wide strategic plan. The VPUA should understand the transformative role that private philanthropy can play in the lives of faculty and students, and support the expansion of opportunities that improve academic excellence and student success. This important leadership position will be a visible spokesperson and advocate for SJSU in an effort to create awareness, build relationships and ultimately generate support for the institution. The VPUA will be expected to engage with donors, alumni, friends, the greater Silicon Valley community, business leaders and private foundations to promote and develop partnerships and fundraising opportunities to benefit the university, faculty and students. The VPUA will provide strong leadership to the advancement team in an effort to further develop programs and activities that ultimately result in building a more robust donor pipeline that increases annual, major and planned giving to the institution. Of critical importance, this position will be a key partner to the president and provide strategic counsel and support for donor relations and principal gift activities.

The incoming VPUA should have a strong track record of facilitating, cultivating and soliciting six figure gifts and above that support an institution’s strategic priorities. Additionally, the VPUA will have experience developing and supporting faculty, academic leadership and senior administrators in an effort to raise funds for key initiatives and campus-wide programs. SJSU’s VPUA should possess strong communication skills, a superb ability to collaborate with internal and external partners, and a thorough knowledge of best practice fundraising and alumni relations strategies and tactics, particularly as they relate to a large, urban, public comprehensive and emerging research institution serving a highly diverse student body. Furthermore, the VPUA will be responsible for building, motivating and inspiring a high performing team that will be responsible for implementing and engaging a comprehensive fundraising campaign in excess of $300 million.

Inquiries, nominations and applications are invited. The position will remain open until filled. Candidates should provide a resume, letter of application that addresses the responsibilities and requirements described in the leadership profile, and the names and contact information of five references. References will not be contacted without prior knowledge and approval of candidates. These materials should be sent electronically via e-mail to the WittKieffer consultants supporting this search, Zachary A. Smith, Ph.D., Suzanne Teer and Alejandra Gillette-Teran at The consultants can be reached through the office of Francine Heymanson at 949-797-3503. 

SJSU is an Equal Opportunity Affirmative Action employer. We consider qualified applicants for employment without regard to race, color, religion, national origin, age, gender, gender identity/expression, sexual orientation, genetic information, medical condition, marital status, veteran status, or disability. 

It is the policy of SJSU to provide reasonable accommodations for applicants with disabilities who self-disclose.