Cheryl Thomas announced as Tuskegee University’s Senior Director of Development


TUSKEGEE, Ala. (January 3, 2011) – Ms. Cheryl M. Thomas has been appointed the Senior Director of Development at Tuskegee University by Dr. Gilbert L. Rochon, Tuskegee University’s President, effective January 3, 2011.


Thomas, a senior level executive, has 20 years of extensive institutional advancement experience, specifically in developing programs for annual, major and planned giving. Prior to joining Tuskegee University, she held the positions of Director of Planned Giving and Senior Development Officer for Major Gifts at Meharry Medical College.


In 1991, she assumed the position of Director of Donor Relations at Xavier University of Louisiana in New Orleans, LA. In 1992, she was appointed Director of Planned Giving and Donor Relations at Xavier University. In 1997, she became the Director of Planned Giving at Xavier University before accepting the position of Director of Planned Giving at Meharry Medical College, Nashville, TN., in 2000. While at Xavier University, Ms. Thomas authored the planned giving and major giving portions of the $1.9 million Southern Education Foundation/Kresge grant to expand institutional advancement staff resources in Historically Black Colleges and Universities.


During her tenure at Meharry Medical College, she authored the planned giving portion of Kellogg Foundation’s Expanding the Boundaries: Leadership in Philanthropy Project.  She also assisted in the implementation of strategies to increase both current annual gifts, major gifts, as well as deferred commitments during a $175 million capital campaign.  She increased planned gift expectancies from alumni by 80%, closed more than $10 million in annual, major and planned gifts from alumni and friends of the College.  Additionally, she created, managed and administered partnerships with a nationwide network of financial advisors to provide major planned giving opportunities to alumni and non-alumni constituents nationwide and developed education/training modules to increase major gifts and planned gifts expectancies and receipts, inviting a foundation grant award of over $900,000.  In 2010, she assisted the College in the procurement of approximately $275,000 in cash and pledges from alumni and other individuals towards a challenge grant approved by the Kresge Foundation to complete major renovations of the Stanley S. Kresge Learning Resource Center.


She is a board member of the Partnership for Philanthropic Planning (Nashville Chapter), a member of the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) and the American Council on Gift Annuities. From 1999-2003, she served as a member of the CASE District III Board of Directors and co-chaired its Committee on Opportunity and Equity. She also served on the United Way of New Orleans - Allocations Committee as its co-chair from 1999-2000.


Thomas is a native of New Orleans, Louisiana and holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Education from Xavier University of Louisiana. Her professional and expert training has included Counseling the Affluent, Heritage Institute, 2008; Practical Planned Giving Seminar, R&R Newkirk, 2006; PG Calc Basic and Advanced Training, PG Calc, Inc., 1999. Additional training at the College of William and Mary, National Planned Giving Institute included Funding Major, Current and Deferred Gifts with Non-Cash Property; Major Gift Planning – Options and Opportunities; the Non-Income Tax Oriented Plan of Giving, and the Tax-Oriented Plan of Giving.


The Senior Director of Development, in partnership with the President, is responsible for planning and directing all fundraising and development activities. She will maintain relationships with existing donors and help forge new collaborations to build the University’s visibility, impact and financial resources. It is expected that she will expand and diversify the University’s donor base/pipeline and work closely with other team members, deans and/or board members to secure funding to strengthen the University’s overall fundraising capacity.


Thomas has two daughters, LCDR Jennifer A. Thomas, MD, a licensed Navy psychiatrist and Courtney M. Thomas, currently a graduate student at Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine.

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