VALDOSTA – The VSU Foundation recently named Rick Munroe the new CEO and vice president for University Advancement.
Rick Munroe, who recently led a $50 million capital campaign at Delta State University, has been named the new vice president for University Advancement and CEO of the VSU Foundation at Valdosta State University. His first day on campus is set for Oct. 2.
Munroe has served as vice president for university advancement and external relations at Delta State University in Cleveland, Mississippi, since June 2018. His expertise spans planned giving, majors gifts, annual funds, endowments, and capital campaign fundraising.
“Rick brings a wealth of experience and a true love for South Georgia,” said Dr. Richard Carvajal, president of VSU. “He previously led university advancement offices at similar institutions, including most recently at a fellow Gulf South Conference university, and he’s consistently been highly successful in those roles. He connects well with people and has a true passion for what we do in higher education. He and his family also consider this region their home, and we are excited to bring him back.”
During his time at Delta State University, Munroe reorganized the Alumni Association and Foundation Office and revamped their web presence, added more development officers, and launched Raiser’s Edge alumni management software. He successfully navigated the university through the COVID-19 global health crisis. In 2021, he increased annual fundraising by $400,000, the number of donors by 500, and the endowment by 34 percent.
Munroe believes in the life-changing power of higher education, and that is what fuels his unwavering commitment to help universities like VSU build a culture of philanthropy that drives them forward, from where they are now to where they need to be for future generations. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Public Affairs from Indiana University in 1985 and a Master of Business Administration from Thomas University in 2006 and became a certified fundraising executive in 2010.
Before his Delta State University years, Munroe served as vice president for alumni and development at Trine University in Angola, Indiana, in 2017; vice president for advancement at Bethel College in Mishawaka, Indiana, from 2014 to 2017; and vice president for institutional advancement at Thomas University in Thomasville, Georgia, from 2003 to 2014. Earlier in his career he was regional campaign director and annual fund director at Trine from 2001 to 2003. His vast leadership experience also includes private sector managing roles.
Munroe has led a total of four capital campaigns. His fifth campaign will support VSU’s efforts to foster student success in and out of the classroom, cultivate an inclusive environment, impact regional progress across South Georgia, and sustain the institution for generations to come.
“Valdosta State is a larger university than others I’ve worked for, and that offers me the opportunity to make a greater impact,” he said.
Munroe is a veteran of the United States Navy, where he served as a lieutenant, supervised more than 100 sailors, and earned the Commendation Medal. He is proud of his service to his country.
When asked how he feels about returning to South Georgia, Munroe replied, “We have a home in Thomasville, and you have no idea how excited my wife and I are to come back to South Georgia. It’s great to be back after 10 years, but to be a part of the exciting things happening at Valdosta State is icing on the cake.”
He said his first few weeks at VSU will be spent engaging with Blazer Nation alumni, donors, faculty, and staff.
“I intend to spend time listening to the stories of their time at Valdosta State,” he said.
Munroe is married and has three sons, one daughter, and three grandchildren.
A. Blake Pearce, former dean of the College of the Arts at VSU, has served for the past year as the interim vice president for University Advancement. Pearce is assuming the role of executive director of special projects & chief development officer for the College of the Arts. He will fill critical gaps in academic leadership and support the university’s development efforts, with a special focus on the arts.
“Blake is a highly capable leader who has proven both his love of VSU and his ability to make a significant impact on our institution,” said Carvajal. “He enjoyed a decade-long run as Dean, and this past year, did a wonderful job sustaining our positive momentum in university advancement. I am highly appreciative of the difference he has made over a long career, and I’m thrilled that we will be able to continue benefiting from his many talents as he moves into his new role.”