Chris Wyrick Announces Restructuring in Advancement Division

by Arkansas Business Staff  on Thursday, Jul. 11, 2013 8:42 am  

Chris Wyrick, vice chancellor of advancement at the University of Arkansas. (Photo by Chris Bahn)

The University of Arkansas Division of University Advancement on Thursday announced what its vice chancellor called called "a significant restructuring," which includes two retirements and several promotions.

"Change is never easy, but sometimes it is necessary," Vice Chancellor Chris Wyrick said in a news release. "I think everyone, inside and outside this division, expected changes. At the same time, my prime goal was to ensure that no jobs were cut, and we did achieve that goal."

Wyrick said the reorganization comes "after a thorough review of the entire division by the university's office of human resources." The changes come about five months after Wyrick took over the advancement office. Brad Choate, who led the office for four years, was relieved of duties after an internal audit revealed the division had overspent by more than $3 million in 2012 and was on track for a $4 million deficit.

Part of the plan puts the office of university development, the division's chief fundraising arm, under new leadership. Mark Power took over as the new associate vice chancellor for university development on July 1 after the retirement of Bruce Pontious. Wyrick said Pontius had announced plans to retire in the spring.

"Mark Power was an instrumental leader in the Campaign for the Twenty-first Century, and he has worked closely with Bruce since that time," Wyrick said. "I am confident that Mark will be the kind of vital leader that can move development forward."

Power's development leadership team has also been reorganized, with Katy Nelson-Ginder promoted to assistant vice chancellor of development for external relations; Brenda Brugger named assistant vice chancellor of development for internal operations; and Ashlie Hilbun becoming interim director of development for the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences.

Also, Greg Lewis will become director of corporate and foundation relations in development effective Aug. 1.

"The restructuring has enabled us to increase the number of people working on university initiatives in the development office," Wyrick said. "This alone will be a great asset to our fundraising efforts."

Wayrick said the restructuring also affects the vice chancellor's office.

Denise Reynolds, who's spent 19 years in the finance and administration division, has been promoted to assistant vice chancellor for finance and human resources. Eunice Alberson is now human resources manager, and Stephanie McGuire is now assistant to the finance officer. Those promotions were effective July 1.

"One of the goals of our restructuring was to eliminate unnecessary duplication, and in the human resources review we found that several people in different offices were doing essentially the same thing as one part of their jobs," Wyrick said. "It is much more efficient and effective to have the financial and human resources duties centrally organized in this office."

More changes are taking place in the offices of special events and constituent relations.

Kris Macechko, the leader of the office of constituent relations, announced in the spring that she would retire. Now, Melissa Banks has been promoted to executive director of donor relations and special events, effective July 1. Ede Hogue will be the new associate director of donor relations and special events, and Robin Adams has been promoted to the new position of manager of donor relations and special events, both effective Aug. 1.

"Melissa Banks and Ede Hogue have worked closely with Kris Macechko for years, and they have a very experienced professional staff in place going forward," Wyrick said. "This change made sense, and we’re confident our donors and other constituents will be happy with the results."



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