SC: You've only just joined Susquehanna on Feb. 26. What are your first impressions?
MK: The strong team and interconnected atmosphere that I first noticed and experienced during the search process for the position is true to the Susquehanna culture.
Sometimes institutions put on their "best" only when recruiting for personnel, but for Susquehanna, the commitment to excellence and support of all parts of the community—students, faculty, staff, alumni, and even the town of Selinsgrove—is a regular part of each and every day.
That is an amazing foundation for me to start working from. Coming to SU at a time of great initiatives is also exciting for me to be a part of-from the diversity of the speakers' series, to the arts events, to cutting-edge enterprises like the Freshwater Research Initiative and solar array.
SC: What are your goals for helping to move the university forward in the coming year(s)?
MK: There are, of course, the standard fundraising milestones that are always important to forward movement, including increasing participation in giving and the overall dollar amount of gifts. But to make that happen, an important goal for me is building on the overall culture of philanthropy that has been established since the day the college was founded and has seen special attention recently from the Board of Trustees. I look forward to moving forward with each of the Susquehanna community constituencies to inspire engagement, service and ultimately giving back/paying it forward in terms of financial support.
SC: What role does philanthropy play in higher education and at Susquehanna in particular?
MK: I believe, like many of my advancement colleagues, that philanthropy has incredible power to change the world in ways both big and small, but the key phase is "change the world." Philanthropy is key to making certain Susquehanna can fulfill its mission—which is ultimately about student access, education and success. Our graduates change the world in many ways, so philanthropy has continuous and far-reaching effects.
Susquehanna, like most higher-ed institutions, is a nonprofit, so philanthropy is significant in allowing us to do more for impactful initiatives such as supporting student scholarships, completing capital projects and campus renovations, sustaining an inspiring living and learning environment,
and building the endowment for the institution's long-term support and stability.
SC: What do you see as Susquehanna's immediate and long-range funding priorities?
MK: Even being brand new here at SU, it is easy to answer on immediate need. Scholarships for students are always both a current and long term need as it gives Admissions the opportunity to admit those strong students with need but also provides a bit of a competitive advantage in attracting students with merit-based scholarships. From a long-term perspective, we will be looking at the opportunities of a comprehensive fundraising campaign to complement
President Green's vision for Susquehanna, as well as reinforce the strategic plan for Susquehanna's future. I am very much looking forward to working with the advancement team as well as faculty, staff and alumni to envision how we can strategically do our philanthropic work to support what Susquehanna will be in 2025 and beyond.