Vice President for University Advancement Search

Seattle Aerial View


Seattle University (SU) seeks a visionary, strategic and inclusive vice president of university advancement.

Founded in 1891, Seattle University is a Jesuit, Catholic university located in downtown Seattle’s First Hill neighborhood. One of the Northwest’s largest independent universities, SU is home to more than 7,000 undergraduate and graduate students and more than 90,000 alumni globally. Seattle University is on the forefront of empowering students for successful careers in a just and humane world. SU consistently achieves high rankings among the best universities nationally for its rigorous, personalized and values-centered Jesuit education.

Seattle University's University Advancement's (UA) 60-plus member team consists of development, alumni engagement and advancement services and has an annual operating budget of $4.9 million. SU's new vice president will assume leadership of the office at an advantageous time – at the conclusion of a successful campaign; on the cusp of planning its next campaign; and at the outset of the tenure of Seattle University's 22nd President, Eduardo M. Peñalver. Serving on the president's cabinet, the next vice president will have the opportunity to shape and guide the future of philanthropy at SU, including re-engaging alumni, community and corporate partners; creating a culture of belonging within the advancement team; and catalyzing the academic units and other departments as they pursue their fundraising goals and aspirations. The position is an executive officer of the institution and is a key member of the university’s executive leadership team.


To succeed in the role, the vice president will have served as a senior and successful leader of advancement programs and their people. Superior strategic ability at the institutional, departmental and individual prospect levels is of the utmost importance. The successful candidate will demonstrate a robust record of accomplishment as a major/principal gift fundraiser and manager of advancement professionals. The next vice president will model leadership and bring to bear successful experience advancing institutional diversity, equity and inclusion.

Substantial leadership and management acumen is required, and thus the ideal candidate will have successfully led or had a major leadership role in development of advancement programs for at least seven years, with a significant proportion of that experience in the service of one or more institutions of significant complexity and accomplishment. As would be expected, superior communication and relationship-building skills are required, as is a bachelor’s degree, with an advanced degree preferred. A track record for building strong, actionable relationships across the entire academic and co-curricular spectrum of one or more institutions will be a distinct advantage, as will a deep understanding of data analysis and an approach that uses data to drive strategy.

To Apply: 

All applications, nominations and inquiries are invited. Applications should include, as separate documents, a CV or resume and a letter of interest addressing the themes in the profile, available at

WittKieffer is assisting Seattle University in this search. For fullest consideration, candidate materials should be received by November 29, 2021. Application materials should be submitted using WittKieffer’s candidate portal.

Nominations and inquiries can be directed to: Dennis Barden, Jessica Herrington and Sandra Chu at


Seattle University prohibits discrimination and harassment on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, political ideology, genetic information, status as a Vietnam-era or special disabled veteran, status as a victim of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking, or any other basis prohibited by applicable federal, state, or local laws. Discrimination and harassment on the basis of sex includes sexual misconduct. In addition, Seattle University prohibits retaliation against any individual who makes a good faith report or otherwise provides information about discrimination, harassment, or sexual misconduct.