Keister is UC Davis’ first vice chancellor for development and alumni relations

Shaun B. Keister, a veteran fundraiser with experience in higher education, arts and conservation philanthropy, will become the University of California, Davis', first vice chancellor for development and alumni relations, following a nationwide search.

Keister, who has served in a series of high-level development posts at Florida State, Iowa State and The Pennsylvania State universities, will assume his new post at UC Davis on Sept. 6. UC Regent Frederick Ruiz, chair of the UC Board of Regents Committee on Compensation, approved the appointment on July 15. The action will be reported to the full board of regents at its September meeting.

As vice chancellor for development and alumni relations, Keister will report directly to Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi and function as the campus's chief fundraising officer. He also will serve as president of the UC Davis Foundation.

"Shaun impressed us with his nearly 20 years of experience in fundraising across a broad spectrum of educational, arts and conservation organizations," Katehi said. "This position is key to the future success of this university and, with Shaun's wide range of management, planning and budgeting experience, I'm confident that he will help lead our campus to a new level of accomplishment in fundraising."

UC Davis is in the midst of its first-ever comprehensive fundraising campaign, and is well on its way to reaching the campaign's targets of $1 billion and 100,000 donors by the end of 2014. As of mid-July, The Campaign for UC Davis had raised more than $696 million from nearly 80,500 donors.

The chancellor expects the university to launch a second, more ambitious campaign soon after the $1 billion effort concludes. "And it is for this next campaign, as much as for the current one," Katehi said, "that UC Davis needs a dynamic, engaging and visionary leader for its development efforts. Shaun is that leader."

Indeed, in appointing Keister to the new post, Katehi noted his role in the launch of three major university campaigns, including:

For the Future: the Campaign for Penn State Students, a $2 billion fundraising effort now under way, in which Keister played a major role as associate vice president for development.
Campaign Iowa State: With Pride and Purpose, an $800 million effort to which Keister contributed as vice president for development outreach
Campaign Destiny, a $458 million campaign launched at Iowa State while Keister was the assistant vice president for development services.

"I'm excited about the opportunities and challenges that await me at UC Davis," Keister said. "UC Davis is among the nation's top public research universities and is committed to its mission to address society's critical issues. And that is what higher education philanthropy is all about in the 21st century. I look forward to joining the visionary leadership team at UC Davis."

Keister, who served as Penn State's associate vice president for development from 2008 through May of this year, played a critical role in development efforts that consistently raised more than $250 million in gifts and commitments for the school during each of the past three years, marking three of the best fundraising years in school history. Keister has a bachelor's degree in political science from Penn State and a master's and doctoral degree in sociology from Iowa State.

Since 1995, Keister has also served as a part-time independent fundraising consultant. Keister's clients have included more than 20 public and private universities, the San Francisco Opera, Steppenwolf Theatre, World Wildlife Fund and The Nature Conservancy.

At UC Davis, Keister will take over a universitywide development enterprise that is not only engaged in a thriving comprehensive campaign, but has for five consecutive years helped raise more than $100 million in philanthropic support. Private support to UC Davis totaled $112.3 million during the 2009-10 fiscal year that ended June 30, 2010, topping the 2008-09 total of $108.1 million. More than 41,000 donors collectively made 48,228 contributions to the university during 2009-10. These donors included alumni, faculty, staff, parents, students and other supporters, as well as corporations, foundations and other organizations. Early indications are that the fundraising total for the recently completed 2010-11 year will exceed $115 million — topping the previous year's total and $100 million for the fifth consecutive year.

UC Davis launched its first comprehensive campaign in 2006. The campaign is a critical step in an era when private support is vital to maintaining excellence, and state support remains an important but shrinking share of total revenues. The Campaign for UC Davis entered its public phase on Oct. 22, 2010. UC Davis seeks to raise funds through the campaign for: student scholarships and financial aid; creating new endowed chairs and professorships; enriching teaching and research; improving patient care; enhancing the university environment through improvements in facilities, library materials, art and scholarly collections and equipment; and enabling the campus to act on emerging opportunities.

As vice chancellor for development and alumni relations, Keister will receive an annual base salary of $335,000. In keeping with UC policy, additional compensation will include a relocation allowance, temporary housing allowance, moving expenses, an auto allowance and eligibility for the UC Mortgage Origination Program. Keister's position is completely funded by private support. Additional details about the total compensation package will be posted in mid-September at the UC Regents website on salaries and compensation.

Media Resources

Mitchel Benson, News and Media Relations, UC Davis, (530) 752-9844,

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