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Meet the Office of Institutional Advancement

 

Rev. Dr. McKennon Shea
Vice President
for Development
(336) 841-9856
mckennon@highpoint.edu

 

About McKennon: McKennon serves as the Vice President for Development. He has served HPU with increasing levels of responsibility in the Office of Institutional Advancement since 2018. Today, he leads an outstanding team of dedicated professionals, and is responsible for fundraising, alumni engagement, family engagement, advancement services and athletics fundraising.

Prior to this position, he served as the Director of Major and Planned Giving for The Divinity School of Duke University in Durham, NC. He also previously served as Director of Admissions for Duke Divinity School and as a minister for Duke University Chapel. McKennon is an ordained minister in The United Methodist Church and completed his undergraduate studies at Hampden-Sydney College. He also received his Master of Divinity degree from Duke Divinity School, and holds a doctorate in Higher Education Management from The University of Pennsylvania.

Connect with McKennon on LinkedIn

Kate Berry
Assistant Vice President for Major Gifts

(336) 841-9353
kberry@highpoint.edu

 

About Kate: In her current role as Senior Director of Major Gifts, Kate helps oversee the team of regionally-based advancement officers who travel across the country building the HPU network and enhancing philanthropic support to the University. In her current role, she works closely with parents, alumni, and friends of HPU in New York, Wisconsin and Illinois. Kate initially joined the Office of Institutional Advancement as a senior advancement officer. In that role, she partnered with parents, alumni and community members to engage them with the university and facilitate philanthropic investments to strengthen HPU’s educational mission.

Prior to joining the team at HPU, she worked in development at other higher education institutions and in the non-profit sector. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Spanish and has lived and worked abroad in Spain and Mexico.

Connect with Kate on LinkedIn


 

Darren Hill
Senior Director of
Athletic Development

(336) 841-9555
dhill1@highpoint.edu 

 

About Darren: Darren joined High Point University’s Institutional Advancement Office in December 2016. In his role as the Senior Director of Athletic Development, he is responsible for advancing the institutional priorities of the University and the Athletic Department through the cultivation and solicitation of major gifts from parents, alumni and friends of the University.

Prior to his arrival at HPU, Darren served as the Director of Corporate Partnerships for the Winston-Salem Dash baseball team. He received his undergraduate degree in Exercise and Sport Science, concentration in Sport Administration, from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Connect with Darren on LinkedIn

 

Will Nowadly
Senior Director of
Annual Giving and Communications

(336) 841-9756
wnowadly@highpoint.edu 

 

About Will: Will serves as Senior Director of Annual Giving and Communication in the Office of Institutional Advancement. Joining the staff in March 2023, he leads a dedicated team in High Point University’s annual giving program and advancement communications strategies. He will drive engaging opportunities to implement giving strategies and execute strategic campaigns for the HPU community.

Prior to his arrival at HPU, Will held positions at UNC-Chapel Hill, East Carolina University and Barton College. A native of Buffalo, NY, he earned a master of science in sport administration from Canisius College and a bachelor of science in communication and physical education from Houghton University.

Connect with Will on LinkedIn

 



Rita S. Williams '92
Senior Director of

Advancement Services
(336) 841-9461
rwillia0@highpoint.edu

 

About Rita: Rita is the Senior Director of Advancement Services and a proud alumna of High Point University. In her Senior Director role, Rita provides management oversight and strategic planning for the development, implementation, maintenance and support of the University’s fundraising and alumni database, and prospective donor management systems. Her areas of responsibility include gift processing, reporting, data analytics, database integrity, information security, prospect management, and prospect research to support engagement and fundraising strategic initiatives.

Rita is a 1992 manga cum laude graduate with a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Computer Information Systems. She has worked in technology and data roles for more than 25 years, with a majority of that time in management roles. 

Connect with Rita on LinkedIn

J. Bradley Purcell
Director of Gift Planning

(336) 841-9214
bpurcell@highpoint.edu

 

About Bradley: As the Director of Gift Planning, Bradley will build relationships with HPU alumni, parents and friends, to motivate legacy gifts to the University, while helping to strengthen certain major donor relationships as well.

Bradley earned the A.B. degree from Duke University, 1983, and both the M.A. and the J.D. from the University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill, 1988. He practiced law in Greensboro, NC for five years early in his career.

Connect with Bradley on LinkedIn

Taylor Cuthbertson
Senior Advancement Officer

(336) 841-9664
tcuthber@highpoint.edu

 

 

About Taylor: Taylor Cuthbertson serves as a Senior Advancement Officer in the Office of Institutional Advancement. In her role, she works closely with parents, alumni, and friends of HPU in the Southeast inlcuding Florida, Alabama and Mississppi to advance the institutional priorities of HPU. 

Prior to joining the team, she worked as an Admissions Counselor in the Office of Admissions at HPU. Taylor received her BS in Public Relations and a minor in Nonprofit Management from Appalachian State University in Boone, NC.

Connect with Taylor on LinkedIn

 

Pete Worcester
Senior Advancement Officer

(336) 841-9352
pworcest@highpoint.edu

 

About Pete: Pete joined HPU’s Institutional Advancement Office in December 2021. In his role as Senior Advancement Officer, he is responsible for advancing the institutional priorities at HPU with parents, alumni and friends throughout North Carolina.

Most of his career was in leadership roles in marketing and business development for global consumer packaged goods and textile companies. Prior to joining HPU, served as major gift officer for Guilford College. Pete received his MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and BA from Williams College.

Connect with Pete on LinkedIn


Amanda Arnold
Manager of Family Programs

(336) 841-9731
aarnold1@highpoint.edu

 

About Amanda: Amanda serves as Manager of Family Programs. This position serves as the Parent Liaison for Family Programs through the Office of Institutional Advancement. She is available to answer all of your questions surrounding family related events through the President’s Leadership Cabinet. Prior to moving into her current role, Amanda previously served as Coordinator of Development Operations.

Prior to this position, Amanda worked in the equine industry as both a Barn Manager and Veterinary Technician. She graduated from Averett University Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Management and Equestrian Studies. 

Connect with Amanda on LinkedIn

 

Ryan Ayers
Advancement Officer

(336) 841-4557
rayers1@highpoint.edu

 

 

About Ryan: Ryan Ayers serves as an Advancement Officer in the Office of Institutional Advancement. In his role, he works closely with parents, alumni, and friends of HPU in the Southeast including South Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee and western North Carolina to advance the institutional priorities of HPU.
 
Before joining the team, Ryan served as a Product Management intern at Hanesbrands. He attended High Point University, where he was a student-athlete on the Men’s Basketball team, an honors scholar, and a junior marshal. Ryan graduated from HPU Summa Cum Laude with a Master’s and a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. Ryan is thrilled to be back working at his alma mater.

Connect with Ryan on LinkedIn

James Belk
Data Analysis and  
Reporting Specialist

(336) 841-9532
jbelk@highpoint.edu

 

About James: James serves as Data Analysis and Report Specialist in the Office of Institutional Advancement. Joining the staff in March 2024, he is a member of a dedicated team in High Point University’s annual giving program. He will provide accurate reporting so the greater team can have more successful giving strategies and execute strategic campaigns for the HPU community.
 
Prior to his arrival at HPU, James ran his own small businesses in Davidson County. A native of Lexington, NC, he earned a Bachelors in history from Western Carolina University.

Connect with James on LinkedIn

Jeremy Bontrager
Manager of Data
Analysis and Reporting

(336) 841-2820
jbontrag@highpoint.edu

 

About Jeremy: Jeremy serves as Manager of Data Analysis and Reporting in the Office of Institutional Advancement. He maintains the integrity of the database and provides the necessary data for Advancement Officers and others across the organization to be effective in communication efforts with alumni, families and friends of the University.

Jeremy has a Bachelor of Arts in Youth Ministries from Anderson University in Indiana and a Master of Science in Higher Education Administration from Southern New Hampshire University.

Connect with Jeremy on LinkedIn

Carson Britt
Manager of Panther Club
Annual Giving and

Season Tickets
(336) 841-4677
cbritt1@highpoint.edu

 

About Carson: Carson joined High Point University’s Office of Institutional Advancement in October 2022. In his role as the Manager of Panther Club Annual Giving and Season Tickets, he is responsible for identifying, cultivating, and solicitating prospective Panther Club Donors for the Athletic Department. While contributing to the Panther Club’s annual fund goals, he also leads the Qubein Center season ticket sales for men’s and women’s basketball.

Prior to his arrival at HPU, Carson served as a Business Development Representative for the Winston Salem Dash Baseball team. He received his undergraduate degree in Parks and Recreation Management, concentration in Business Administration, from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.   

Connect with Carson on LinkedIn

Alex Brooker
Ticket Operations Coordinator

(336) 841-9480
abrooker@highpoint.edu

 

About Alex: Alex joined High Point University Athletics in July 2023. In his role as the Ticket Operations Coordinator, he is responsible for all ticket operations of High Point University Athletic Ticket Office.
 
Prior to starting his professional career at High Point University, Brooker received his undergraduate degree in Sport Administration and Management & Society from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in May of 2023.

Connect with Alex on LinkedIn

 

Rachel Delcamp
Advancement Data Specialist

(336) 841-9833
rdelcamp@highpoint.edu

 

About Rachel:  Rachel is the Advancement Data Specialist and in her role, she is responsible for ensuring and maintaining data accuracy, processing record updates, maintaining data health, database cleanup and generating reporting for the Office of Institutional Advancement.

She graduated from the University of North Carolina Wilmington in 2023 with a bachelor’s degree in business administration concentrating in information systems.

Connect with Rachel on LinkedIn

Eric Gabriel
Advancement Officer

(336) 841-9774
egabriel@highpoint.edu

 

About Eric: Eric joined HPU’s Institutional Advancement Office in July 2023. In his role as an Advancement Officer, he is responsible for advancing the institutional priorities at HPU by partnering with parents, alumni and friends throughout the New England area (MA, ME, NH, RI, VT) as well as New Jersey.

Prior to joining the Institutional Advancement team at HPU, Eric served as an assistant coach with the HPU men's basketball team from 2015 until 2023. He arrived at High Point in 2013 as the team's first-ever Director of Video Operations before being promoted to Director of Player Development in 2014.
Eric received his MS from the Ohio University in Coaching Education and a BA from West Liberty University in Elementary Education.

Connect with Eric on LinkedIn

 

Emily Halk
Student Alumni Engagement Coordinator

(336) 841-9829
ehalk@highpoint.edu

 

About Emily: Emily joined High Point University in July 2023 as the Student Alumni Engagement Coordinator. In her role, she helps cultivate purposeful and meaningful relationships with High Point University students to strengthen affinity as future alumni. Emily helps lead philanthropy education programs to promote University traditions and values. She assists with senior programming, including their senior campaign, to help navigate students toward alumnihood and prepare them to leave a legacy for future generations. This serves as a link between current students and alumni to learn from one another and give back to their alma mater.
 
Emily graduated Magna Cum Laude from Appalachian State University in 2023 with a Bachelor of Science in Public Relations. While in school, she was a member of Alpha Omicron Pi sorority, the University Honors College, an intern for their club ice hockey team, and their student-run radio station-90.5 WASU FM.

Connect with Emily on LinkedIn

Lauryn Heilig
Graphic Design and Creative Projects Coordinator

lheilig2@highpoint.edu

 

About Lauryn: Lauryn serves as the Graphic Designer and Creative Projects Coordinator in the Office of Institutional Advancement. Joining the staff in September 2023, she creates and maintains design and creative projects within the Office of Institutional Advancement. She assists with social media, alumni engagement, annual giving, and communications.
 
Prior to her arrival to Institutional Advancement, Lauryn held a position in the Office of Student Financial Planning as a Financial Planning Counselor from May 2022 to August 2023. A native of NC, she earned her Bachelor of Arts in Art and Design with a Concentration in Graphic Design from HPU in May 2022.

Connect with Lauryn on LinkedIn

 

Tyson Lane
Corporate Sales and Development Officer

(336) 841-9775
tlane1@highpoint.edu

 

About Tyson: Tyson joined High Point University’s Office of Institutional Advancement in June 2023. In his role as the Corporate Sales and Development Officer, he is responsible for identifying, cultivating, and solicitating prospective donors for the Athletic Department. 

Prior to his arrival at HPU, Tyson was a member of the Meredith College Athletic Department and has previously served in several corporate sales roles. He received his undergraduate degree in Sport Management from North Carolina State University.

Connect with Tyson on LinkedIn

 

Denise Lanier
Manager of Gifts and

Records Administration
(336) 841-9529
dlanier@highpoint.edu 

 

About Denise: As the Manager of Gifts and Records Administration, Denise's area of responsibility includes management of the Gift Processing team, as well as data maintenance and research related to constituent biographical information. She manages datea that enables the university to stay connected with alumni, donors, families and friends, ensuring data accuracy and integrity. She also ensures that gifts are processed by timely and accurately, and provides associated gift reporting.

Denise has several years of gift processing experience, along with 30+ years of accounting and other transaction and data-related experience. She has been with HPU in Institutional Advancement since 2014. 

Abel Mathews
Advancement Officer

(336) 841-7615
amathew3@highpoint.edu 

 

About Abel: Abel joined HPU's Institutional Advancement team on January 8th, 2024. In his position, he engages with parents, alumni, and friends to advance the institutional priorities of HPU throughout Pennsylvania, Indiana, West Virginia, Kentucky, and Ohio.

Before coming on board at HPU, Abel served as the Vice President of an international non-profit, which allowed him to travel to over 10 countries. He received his bachelor's in marketing from Dallas Baptist University. 

Connect with Abel on LinkedIn

Kelly McFeeley
Manager of Gratitude and Stewardship

(336) 841-9675
kmcfeeley@highpoint.edu

 

About Kelly: Kelly serves as the Manager of Gratitude and Stewardship in the Office of Institutional Advancement. In her role, she helps support donor recognition and appreciation opportunities.

Kelly graduated from Appalachian State University in 2021 with a B.S.B.A in Hospitality and Tourism Management. While in school, she worked as a Student Representative for Appalachian’s Annual Giving department. Previously, she served as the Coordinator of Gratitude and Stewardship and Manager of Annual Giving at HPU.

 

Connect with Kelly on LinkedIn

 

Patricia McGraw
Gift Processor

(336) 841-4556
pmcgraw@highpoint.edu

 

About Patricia: Patricia serves as Gift Processor in the Office of Institutional Advancement. Joining the staff in April 2024, she is part of the team that assists High Point University in processing donations that support the university’s goals and objectives.

Prior to her arrival at HPU, Patricia spent 21 years with the University of Miami in its Development and Alumni Relations Department, where she most recently served as Associate Director of Gift Management. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Miami.

 

Connect with Patricia on LinkedIn 

Brittany Melvin
Advancement Officer

(336) 841-9271
bmelvin1@highpoint.edu

 

About Brittany: Brittany Melvin is a 2013 alumna of High Point University where she graduated Summa Cum Laude with a B.A. in Strategic Communication and Spanish. She is thrilled to be back at her alma mater working in Institutional Advancement. 

Partnering with families along the West Coast and Midwest, Brittany looks forward to building upon her previous work in forging relationships to advance institutional priorities and support the university’s growth and transformation.

 

As a HPU student, Brittany was actively involved across campus as an Honors College member, University Ambassador, Spanish Tutor, Student Government Association representative, Peer Mentor, club tennis player and Alpha Delta Theta (service sorority) member. Having earned a Master’s degree in Educational Studies from Loyola Marymount University, Brittany spent a decade working in college undergraduate and graduate admissions as well as academic and college counseling on the high school side. 

 

Connect with Brittany on LinkedIn

Gabby Pysher
Manager of
Advancement Events

(336) 841-9831
gpysher@highpoint.edu

 

About Gabby: Gabby serves as Manager of Advancement Events in the Office of Institutional Advancement. Joining the staff in January 2024, she focuses on execution of Advancement Events. She will ensure that Advancement Events not only hold up to but exceed the High Point University standard.  

 

Prior to her arrival at HPU, Gabby managed events at The Hideaway at Crooked Creek, her family's wedding & event venue in Whitsett, NC. Gabby is from Greensboro, NC and graduated from The University of South Carolina at Columbia with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Global Studies & Spanish in 2018.

 

Connect with Gabby on LinkedIn

Gabre-Ana Ruthland
Digital Communications & Marketing Strategist

(336) 841-9459
gruthlan@highpoint.edu

 

 

About Gabre-Ana: Gabre-Ana serves as a Digital Communications & Marketing Strategist in the Office of Institutional Advancement. Joining the staff in February 2024, her responsibilities vary from strategizing and executing effective strategic campaigns to further advance HPU, including email campaigns, social media alumni communications and engagement, and digital fundraising initiatives.

Gabre-Ana is a native of New Jersey. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications, with an emphasis on Media Productions, from William Paterson University. Prior to her arrival at HPU, she worked as a Media Administrator at the multisite megachurch Christ Church in Northeast New Jersey. 

Connect with Gabre-Ana on LinkedIn

Davis Shoener '20, M.A. '21
Alumni Events Coordinator

(336) 841-9698
dshoene1@highpoint.edu

 

About Davis: Davis serves as the Alumni Events Coordinator where he manages and executes both on and off-campus events for HPU alumni to help engage and promote impactful relationships within the alumni community.

Davis graduated from HPU in 2020 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Exercise Science and a Master of Arts in Communication and Business Leadership in 2021. Prior to joining the Office of Institutional Advancement, Davis worked in the Office of Communications as Campus Concierge. Currently, he also serves as HPU club baseball’s assistant coach.  

Connect with Davis on LinkedIn

 

Harry Stillwell
Coordinator of Prospect Research

(336) 841-9619
hstillwe@highpoint.edu

 

About Harry: Harry joined the Office of Institutional Advancement in July 2023, performing data management before advancing to his current role. Through research, he collects and analyzes data in support of the university's special project funding, annual efforts, scholarships and other initiatives. 

Harry graduated from Guilford Technical Community College with an Associates in Applied Science in Information Technology, with a focus on Database Programming and Data Management.

 

Connect with Harry on LinkedIn

Susan Sullivan
Manager of Advancement
Systems

(336) 841-9133
ssulliva@highpoint.edu

 

About Susan: Susan is the Advancement Systems Manager, and brings 23 years of data management experience to the Institutional Advancement team. Her responsibilities include maintaining of data accuracy and synchronization with other University systems, detailed financial tracking and reporting, data imports and exports, reporting in support of other areas within the University, end user setup and training, and system support.

Susan earned her B.A. in English from Wake Forest University and a Master of Technical and Professional Writing degree from Northeastern University. 

 

Brian Turney
Manager of Annual Giving

(336) 841-9710
bturney@highpoint.edu 

 

About Brian: Brian serves as the Manager of Annual Giving in the Office of Institutional Advancement. Joining the staff in March 2024, He focuses on the execution and implementation of fundraising strategies for university fundraising priorities and coordinates the associated outreach efforts.

Prior to HPU, he worked extensively in the sports industry with organizations such as the Kansas City Chiefs, USA Football, Indianapolis Colts, and Carolina Hurricanes. He earned his Master of Business Administration (MBA) with a concentration in Sports Marketing and Revenue Generation from Winthrop University in 2022 and Bachelor of Science in Sport Management from Wingate University in 2019. 

 

Connect with Brian on LinkedIn

 

Gale Nance Varner
Administrative Assistant to the Senior Vice President

(336) 841-9127
gvarner@highpoint.edu

 

About Gale: Gale has proudly served the Office of Institutional Advancement as Administrative Assistant/Office Manager since 2000. She provides a wide range of administrative support for the entire office, including assisting the Senior Vice President and Advancement Officers.

Prior to HPU, Gale worked in the banking industry, and served as Librarian/Branch Manager in the Davidson County Public Library system for over ten years. She holds Associate degrees in Applied Science in both Business and Accounting.

Connect with Gale on LinkedIn

Amy Werner
Advancement Officer

(336) 841-9857
awerner@highpoint.edu

 

About Amy: Amy joined the Advancement Team at High Point University in January 2023 and has the privilege of working closely with parents, alumni and friends of HPU in the DC, Virginia and Maryland areas.

 

Prior to joining HPU, Amy spent 10 years at the University of  North Carolina School of the Arts. She led the university’s annual giving program before transitioning to the Director of Alumni Engagement working to keep alumni informed and connected to the campus. Amy received her BSJ from Ohio University and spent nearly a decade working as a producer in television newsrooms in the Midwest before transitioning to her work in University Advancement.

 

Connect with Amy on LinkedIn

 

 

 

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