Who's Who in Development, Alumni and Parent Relations
If you stop by the Alumni House on Alton Street, you will notice many changes, from
new faces to positions to the department name on the sign in front. Several staff
members have recently joined the team or have changed responsibilities in the newly
named Office of Development, Alumni and Parent Relations.
“The University is very fortunate to have hired some terrific professionals to complement some of our veteran employees,” said Victoria Dowling, senior vice president. “In the next few pages we would like to introduce the team and share their contributions.”
Kimberly Mayden, Associate Vice President for Development, Alumni and Parent Relations, works directly with the Senior Vice President on the University’s comprehensive fundraising campaign, with special emphasis on its featured construction objectives. She also manages athletic fundraising, including the newly formed Bearcat Booster Club and the inaugural Bearcat Athletic Golf Tournament to be held on June 22.
Kim is the former executive director for the Ronald McDonald House Charities of North Central Florida, and directed the Teaching and Club Professional Division of the Ladies Professional Golf Association. She coached NCAA Division I women’s basketball at Northern Iowa University and was a regional director at the Muscular Dystrophy Association for 10 years.
Kim is an avid golfer who also enjoys hiking and travel.
“I really enjoy working at McKendree, especially the people. Having the opportunity to work with the alumni, faculty, staff and the students has been a remarkable experience.”
Scott Billhartz ’85, Director of Donor and Prospect Management, is an alumnus and an 11-year veteran of the department. His responsibilities focus on the stewardship of endowed scholarship donors and those who have included the University in their estate plans. He also helps to identify and develop strategies for the prospect management system.
Scott is a baseball card collector, a St. Louis Cardinals baseball and Blues hockey fan, and a music lover. His free time is spent primarily with his wife, Meg, MAED ’08, and two daughters, whose many high school activities he follows and supports.
“McKendree is very special to me and my family.”
Sean Taylor, Database Administrator, helps run the University’s database of alumni, parents and friends by pulling together lists, generating reports and updating records daily. When you donate to McKendree, he creates the receipt and acknowledgment of your gift.
Sean played college football and soccer. He still plays a little soccer on weekends, likes to fish, and sees a lot of St. Louis Cardinals games during baseball season.
“I am such a Cardinals fan, I named my dog after my favorite player, Ozzie.”
Whitney (Pankey) Strang ’05, Director of Major and Planned Giving, meets alumni, parents and friends near and far who want to give back to help the University accomplish its goals.
Despite her frequent travels, Whitney remains a homebody at heart. “It’s hard to get me out of the house when I don’t have something planned,” she says. The Chicago Bears fan, who claims she “probably know(s) more about sports than most men,” begins and ends her day tuned in to ESPN Radio.
Whitney intended to enroll at a large university but a Scholarship Weekend visit to McKendree changed her fate. “It took me about two weeks on campus to realize that McKendree was the only place for me,” she said. “Not only did I receive a quality education, I made lifetime friends and even met my husband (Kent Strang ’05) here.”
“When I meet with you, I like to learn about you and hear about your McKendree experience. While I do raise money for the University, I won’t always ask you for money.”
Tricia Poettker, Major Gift Officer, came on board in October. She spends much of her time traveling on behalf of the University, conducting an average of 30 visits each month to identify, cultivate and solicit prospective major donors.
Back at home, Tricia enjoys boating, golfing and her guilty pleasures, “good wine and ‘The Real Housewives of…’ reality TV series. I am obsessed with all of them.” She and her husband Kevin, love baseball so much that they named their eldest son, after pitching ace Nolan Ryan. The couple has three children.
“I am beyond excited to now be a part of the McKendree family.”
Sarah Klucker, Director of Parent Relations, is a family’s liaison to McKendree. She guides, supports and connects parents to the University while advancing its educational and fundraising priorities, and serves on the Parent Association and Parent Advisory Board.
The mother of four has a law degree and a serious love of learning. “I had eight different declared majors in college, a dictionary with marking by the words I’ve looked up, more books than I know what to do with at home and articles, documentaries and periodicals on a million different subjects that are completely unrelated,” she confesses.
Sarah is thrilled to be at a smaller university, having spent most of her career at larger schools. She comments, “I have always longed to be at a University that felt like ‘home’, where I could identify people by name and truly come to know them.”
Growing up in a military family, Sarah attended nearly a dozen different schools. “I still feel a weird urge to move every few years and can’t explain it,” she says. “Usually, I just rearrange some furniture and I’m fine.” When she isn’t taking her kids to dance practices or basketball games, Sarah likes to read, garden and relax with her family.
“It is very important to me to be at a University that has a mission reflective of my spiritual identity and in alignment with my values and faith tradition.”
Vincent Piazza, Coordinator of Annual Giving, manages the Annual Fund, coordinates the phone-a-thon campaign and senior class gift project, and plans William McKendree Society events.
Vincent describes himself as “a compassionate yet secretly competitive person” who can focus on big picture but zero in on the details. An enthusiastic hockey fan who enjoys weight training, he is also a classically trained violinist who frequents Saint Louis Symphony concerts. Vincent speaks Italian fluently; he minored in it.
“Anything I do in my life begins macro and ends micro.”