CMU selects vice president for advancement

Jennifer Cotter brings decades of fundraising, CMU experience to role

| Author: Ari Harris | Media Contact: Aaron Mills

President Davies today announced the appointment of Jennifer Cotter to serve as the university’s vice president for advancement, effective March 1. Cotter has been serving as the interim vice president for advancement since September 16, 2022.

“Jennifer brings extensive fundraising experience and tremendous institutional knowledge into the role, and she is well-known throughout the university community,” Davies said. “Her existing relationships with important university stakeholders and her understanding of our university mission, vision, values and culture made her an ideal candidate for this position. I look forward to working with VP Cotter to advance the university’s priorities and goals.”

Professional headshot of Jennifer Cotter, Interim Vice President for Advancement, in a grey suit in front of a grey backgroundAs the vice president for advancement, Cotter will lead the university’s efforts to prepare for and complete its next comprehensive campaign, with the goal of significantly increasing private philanthropic support. In this role, she also will provide guidance and direction for institutional advancement initiatives, including oversight of teams dedicated to alumni relations, corporate and foundation relations, annual giving, major gifts and planned giving, and more. Cotter also will serve on the president’s cabinet, working closely with academic and administrative leaders to advance the university’s mission and vision.

Cotter, a 2001 CMU graduate, joined the university’s advancement team in 2002, serving as a campaign coordinator until 2004. She later rejoined CMU in 2010 as director of development for the College of Education and Human Services. Over the next decade, Cotter held leadership roles in planned and major giving, as well as campaign and advancement services. Cotter became executive director of advancement and campaign in 2018. In that role, she developed and implemented the strategic plan for CMU’s Fire Up for Excellence campaign, which concluded three years ahead of schedule and several million dollars over its goal.

Following the departure of CMU’s previous vice president of advancement in 2021, Cotter stepped up to co-lead the advancement division with Marcie Otteman, executive director of alumni relations and development strategies. President Davies appointed Cotter as the interim vice president in fall 2022.

“I am truly honored to accept this opportunity and excited to continue leading the efforts expanding the culture of philanthropy and its impact at Central Michigan University,” Cotter said. “Our strong foundation of loyal alumni, donors and volunteers are ready to build on that momentum with university leaders and community partners to realize the significant resources necessary to make a transformative impact on the lives of our students, our programs and the communities we serve for years to come.”

Cotter was a finalist in a national search supported by a seven-member search committee co-chaired by Mary Hill, vice president of finance and administrative services, and Nathan Tallman, vice-chair of the CMU Advancement Board. She completed a bachelor’s degree in business administration at CMU and also holds an executive leadership certificate from Vanderbilt University. Cotter also serves on several CMU and community boards and committees.

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