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Outstanding Alumni – Matt Thompson (PhD 2008)

Betz Kerley

Funds for institutional support are crucial to help maintain the growth of colleges and universities, regardless of their status. The Greek philanthropist, Cimon donated funds to The Academy of Socrates. Plato and Alexander the Great gave financial assistance to Aristotle’s Lyceum. Fundraising for higher education began at Harvard College in 1641. By the mid twentieth century, most colleges and universities had established a department of advancement. By the twenty-first century, some top-tier universities have fundraising drives of over $1 billion.

As vice president for advancement at Florida Southern College, Matt Thompson spends his days developing strategies to find the resources needed to meet the financial goals of the college. “I am responsible for overseeing all money raised at the college through the annual fund, planned giving, and the capital campaign,” says Thompson. Fundraising is under pressure like never before, but that hasn’t slowed down Thompson in his efforts to raise money. “We have a $3.35 million annual fund goal,” states Thompson. “These funds are necessary to undergird the operating budget, but it doesn’t stop there. We are currently in a capital campaign focused on facilities and infrastructure to enhance the academic reputation and support a vibrant student development program.”

“In the last eight years, we have become a regionally known institution that is now ranked #2 in our category by U.S. News and World Report,” states Thompson. “I know firsthand the life-changing effect that donors have when they invest in our students.”

Dr. Thompson feels very strongly about his association with the Institute. “I do not think you could find a better group of faculty, doing such important research while remaining focused on their students.”

Fundraising is a never-ending job requiring special talents, authenticity, passion, motivation and a strong vision for the future. All attributes that one Cimon of Athens would no doubt have appreciated.

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