KU Endowment president plans to retire in 2022
KU Endowment President Dale Seuferling announced his plans to retire later this year. In a meeting with staff on Tuesday morning, Dale reflected on his time at KU Endowment while also reassuring staff that KU Endowment is in a very strong position to carry on its mission of partnering with donors to provide perpetual support for the state’s flagship university
“It has been a true honor and privilege to partner with donors in accomplishing their goals in support of KU,” Dale told employees. “Some forty years ago, I had the good fortune to match my passion for KU with a future career. Along the way, I’ve been blessed to be supported by inspirational chancellors, thoughtful volunteer leaders and a truly fantastic team of KU Endowment staff members. I could not have asked for a more rewarding career. My family and I look forward to all the good experiences that lie ahead.”
Seuferling, a 1977 graduate of KU’s School of Journalism, briefly worked in radio and in the KU Office of University Relations before arriving at KU Endowment in 1981 to assume the role of Director, Public Relations. In 1982, he transitioned to frontline fundraising and held positions of increasing responsibility, including Director of Major Gifts, Vice President for Development and Executive Vice President, before being named President of KU Endowment in 2002.
During his tenure, Seuferling has been involved with three of the four major fundraising campaigns undertaken by KU Endowment, including the most recent, Far Above: The Campaign for Kansas, which raised $1.66 billion for the benefit of KU. Among the campaign’s notable accomplishments were 735 new scholarships and fellowships, 53 new professorships and 16 new buildings or major renovations. Others included achieving National Cancer Institute designation and strengthening a wide range of pioneering academic and research programs. More than 131,000 donors—49 percent of them new donors—from all 50 states and 59 countries made gifts.
“I’ve worked with Dale for many years as a trustee, and can recall when he was selected President,” said Dave Dillon, Chair, KU Endowment Board of Trustees. “I’ve always been amazed at how effective he is at fundraising and at leading KU Endowment. More importantly, Dale has personally set a standard of high values and devotion to KU. Many, many people have benefitted from his work, and KU is a stronger institution because of his leadership. “
Current KU Chancellor Douglas A. Girod echoed that sentiment, praising Seuferling’s leadership style and his ability to build an organizational culture that has made KU Endowment one of the best in the country.
“It has been an honor to work closely with Dale in my capacities first as Executive Vice Chancellor at KU Medical Center and now as the Chancellor of the University of Kansas,” said Girod. “His calm, steady leadership, exemplified by the highest ethical standards, have shaped the culture of KU Endowment, and made it one of the highest performing organizations of its kind. His focus on professionalism, communication, accountability to our donors, and his ability to convey university priorities to our donor base has carved a legacy that will serve our university for decades to come.”
Seuferling’s reach extends beyond KU, having been a strong contributor to the higher education development industry as a peer resource for others, most notably through his association with industry consultants Grenzebach Glier and Associates (GG+A). He was the first KU Endowment president to acquire membership in an elite group of 20 public universities who participate in industry research, benchmarking and sharing of best practices under the auspices of GG+A.
“Even though KU Endowment was the country’s first private foundation set up to support a public university, Dale was keen enough to recognize the importance of learning from others,” said Martin Grenzebach, Chairman, GG+A. “He joined our cohort with the idea that we can always improve and be more effective at what we do. He was always eager to understand where the industry was headed in order to remain at the forefront. As a result, KU Endowment is consistently one of the top performers when it comes to the effectiveness of their fundraising, raising more money as a percentage of their operating costs than any other public institution.”
Though an exact date has not been set, Seuferling is planning for a summer departure. A search is already underway for his successor. A subcommittee of the KU Endowment Board of Trustees Executive Committee, including Chancellor Douglas A. Girod, is working with EFL Associates, an executive search firm based in Kansas City, to conduct the national search.
“Our desire is to have a successor in place by late spring or early summer so Dale can actively assist in the transition,” said Lydia Beebe, KU Board of Trustee, who is serving as chair of the search committee.
KU Endowment is the independent, nonprofit organization serving as the official fundraising and fund-management organization for KU. Founded in 1891, KU Endowment was the first foundation of its kind at a U.S. public university.