Advancement Hit the Streets
Meet advancement staff members who match donors’ interests with Mizzou’s needs. Staffers log thousands of miles a year serving Tigers whose Mizzou experiences inspire meaningful gifts.
Director of Advancement, Kansas City
Best part of my job: Alumni are excited by this newly created position in Kansas City, which demonstrates Mizzou’s commitment to increasing its investment in the community that so many Tigers call home. Living in Kansas City affords me the opportunity to get to know numerous successful, fascinating and dedicated alumni. I love hearing their stories about how Mizzou has played a significant role in their personal and professional lives.
Most rewarding part of the job: There is great fulfillment in building a relationship with an alumnus and in earning their trust. Nothing tops hearing a donor say thank you for helping them make their desired philanthropic impact at Mizzou.
Most surprising: I was surprised by how much Kansas City-area alumni yearn for greater engagement with their alma mater. There is such great love and pride for Mizzou.
Learned along the way: Mizzou is one of only six public universities in the nation with medicine, veterinary medicine, engineering, agriculture and law on one campus.
Inspiring moment: I recently attended a scholarship event hosted by the Kansas City Chapter of the Mizzou Alumni Association. Talk about a group of interesting and dedicated alumni! Through their work, this volunteer group has awarded nearly $70,000 in scholarships to more than 20 local students entering Mizzou in fall 2015. How cool is that?
Andrea Cathey, BA ’95
Director of Advancement, western U.S.
Best part of my job: Bringing a little piece of Mizzou to alumni who have not been back to campus in many years, reconnecting them, and hearing the fond — and often crazy — stories of their student days.
Most rewarding part of the job: Seeing the joy and pride in our alumni when I can help them realize their passion of giving back to MU. They may have had a scholarship that allowed them to attended MU, known a faculty mentor or participated in a club or study abroad program that affected them greatly. And they are now in a position to give back and help today’s students. It is heartwarming go through this experience with them.
Most surprising: That Mizzou is everywhere. Just wear a Mizzou shirt in any airport or when walking down the street in another state or country. Almost always someone will ask if you attended Mizzou, or yell “M-I-Z,” expecting the response. I was recently in a small town in Italy and this happened. It was fantastic.
Learned along the way: The regional advancement staff members visit alumni based on where they live and not their school, college or academic unit. My first week on the job, I had lunch with an alumnus who has degrees in nuclear engineering. I had absolutely no idea what that was! That day began my love of learning about all of the incredible things happening on this campus.
Funniest moment on the road: There are so many travel stories that my colleagues and I have jokingly discussed compiling them into a book. A personal best was being the direct target of a seagull during breakfast with alumni in Southern California. Although this terribly embarrassing — and incredibly smelly — moment occurred years ago, the story lives on.
Mizzou memory: Although I have plenty of wonderful memories from my student days at MU — such as meeting my husband at the fountain outside Brady Commons (now the Student Center) — it’s hard to beat watching my daughter, three nieces and nephew graduate from Mizzou.
Drew Elmore, BA ’05
Director of Advancement, western U.S.
Best part of my job: Getting to know our friends by participating in their hobbies and hearing their inspiring stories.
Most rewarding aspect of the work: Helping people find and follow their passion through philanthropy — and then getting thanked for it.
Most surprising: How grateful people are when they give away their money. MU’s educational and research programs have a tremendous impact on people’s lives. Donors appreciate that they can enhance those programs and create new ones.
Favorite campus locale and memory: Francis Quadrangle is a unique and beautiful place. My favorite memory is of watching my brother Patrick be announced as Homecoming king at halftime of the football game in 2007. It was a proud moment for our family.
Funniest moment on the road: On a flight from Chicago to Columbia I was seated next to an unaccompanied minor. Eva was gregarious 8-year-old, who made the trip monthly to see her dad. After 20 minutes of her non-stop talking, I offered her my tablet so she could play games. She gladly accepted. But the incessant talking and questions continued. When the plane landed (finally!), Eva started crawling over the top of the seats, and other passengers were giving me dirty looks. All I could think to say was, “We just met.”
Kate Gunn, BS BA ’10
Advancement Director, eastern U.S.
Best part of my job: Building relationships with alumni. It is truly gratifying to visit with someone you’ve never met and see that encounter grow into a friendship. Seeing the Bergdorf windows during Christmas is pretty awesome, too!
Most rewarding part of the job: The ability to put a tiny fingerprint on making Mizzou a better place is absolutely the most rewarding part of this position. To be part of a new program, a student’s scholarship, or the construction of a campus center makes every day a great day.
Learned along the way: Working on behalf of the entire university, our team needs to know about all aspects of campus — everything from research in the College of Engineering to Greek Life to past professors in the mathematics department. We get asked about everything.
Funniest moment on the road: I was pulled over by Boston police for making an illegal U-turn down a side street on my way to Michael’s Bakery. The officer was not amused by my “so sorry I’m not from here” routine. I had an intern with me who very quickly learned the lengths to which I’ll go to for cake — and the university.
Mizzou memory: My parents took me to see house decorations when I was three weeks old, and my earliest memory is hopping on the steps at Memorial Union with my sister at age 3 or 4. I was surrounded by the tradition and beauty of campus from an early age and am lucky to enjoy it nearly every day.
Senior Executive Director For Advancement, central U.S.
Best part of my job: Meeting our alumni and hearing their stories from Mizzou.
Most rewarding aspect of the work: Aligning a donor’s interest with a need on campus and being able to witness the impact of their philanthropy on our students.
Most surprising: That this Cornhusker by birth would convert to become a huge Tigers fan. Being on campus every day, it was impossible not to fall in love with Mizzou. Even when the Tigers compete against Nebraska, I cheer for Mizzou. My family and I enjoy having season football tickets and attending many other Mizzou sporting events.
Learned along the way: Not being an alumnus, I had to study the university and the accomplishments of its faculty and students. Ten years later, I hope I’ve retained at least a small part of the many amazing things going on here.
Inspiring story: Thompson Linn [MS ’90, PhD ’93] has a great story of coming to Mizzou as an international student and recently completing an IPO on a company he founded while a faculty member at the University of Houston.
Megan Ogar, BJ ’11, MPA ’14
Advancement Officer, eastern U.S.
Best part of my job: I enjoy exploring new places and meeting people who are passionate about the future of Mizzou. It’s amazing to know that a 1956 engineering graduate can connect over a shared love for this place with a 2011 journalism graduate — me.
Most surprising: Before taking the position, I knew the Mizzou alumni network was vast, but I am continually impressed with the number of alumni who are prominent in communities across the United States and the globe.
Learned along the way: One of the most interesting things is the magnitude of the impact philanthropy has played in shaping Mizzou’s story. There is hardly a place on campus that the generosity of others has not touched.
Funniest moment on the road: I can honestly say I’ve pounded the pavement for Mizzou. On my very first trip, I was making visits in Chicago on a hot July day. I made the rookie mistake of wearing new shoes and a suit. As I walked to a dinner hosted by alumni, my heel caught in a grate, and I took a spectacular tumble onto the streets of Chicago. I arrived sweaty and bleeding, and my knee still has a scar!
Campus memory: My favorite memory of campus is running through the columns as a freshman as part of Tiger Walk. With two Tigers for parents, I decided at the age of four to attend Mizzou and waited my whole life to participate in this tradition. Growing up, I would not step foot on the Quad because I didn’t want to accidentally walk through the Columns before I was officially a student!
Jonathan Shelby, BA ’06
Advancement Officer, central and southwestern U.S.
Best part of my job: Building relationships with alumni and acting as an ambassador for the university. Some alumni haven’t had a connection to the university in several years, and others haven’t had a connection since graduation. I get to bridge that gap by learning about their Mizzou experience and career adventures — and sharing updates from campus.
Most rewarding part of the job: Helping get alumni involved and seeing how excited, motivated and generous our alumni are in growing Mizzou’s position as a leader. Whether their gifts support student scholarships, faculty positions, student programs, athletics or other areas, it’s exciting seeing alumni realize the lasting impact of their gifts.
Most surprising: The number of people who are so passionate and highly invested in Mizzou’s future.
Favorite memories of campus: Time spent with friends cheering on our teams as they destroyed KU — and the celebrations afterward!
Jarrett Sutton, BS BA ’11, M Ed ’12
Advancement Officer, eastern U.S.
Best part of the job: I love being the ambassador for our great alumni back to campus, and feel comfortable in my abilities to engage these individuals’ trust.
Most rewarding part of the job: It is very exciting to see where the university is now and where it’s going. I love being able to share my experiences and knowledge of the university with our alumni who have the same passion. It’s great to express to them how much we appreciate their support, their time and their love for their alma mater.
Most surprising: I would say the number of alumni we have all over the world, and how excited and passionate they are about Mizzou, years after graduating.
Mizzou memory: Being tapped into QEBH Honor Society in the spring of 2010. The Tap Day ceremony at Jesse, the tradition laid before me, and the relationships made from that experience hold strong today. On Tap Day, you realize how many people converge on campus from all over the world and make Mizzou what it is. This place is special because of its people.