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USD Foundation Names Jay Wilson President and CEO

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Jay Wilson headshot Jay Wilson has been named the new president and CEO of the USD Foundation.
VERMILLION, S.D. – The University of South Dakota Foundation has named Jay Wilson as its new president and chief executive officer, following a national search. He will begin his new role Feb. 22, 2022.
Wilson assumes this position after a decade of leadership at the University of Missouri – Kansas City Foundation (UMKCF). During his tenure, he led the foundation in roles such as interim president, where he was responsible for the overall management of the organization. Between 2019-2021, Wilson served as UMKCF assistant vice president, during which he helped raised $133 million. In that role, he also helped increase athletics fundraising by over 1,000% while transitioning from the Western Athletic Conference to The Summit League.
Prior to that, Wilson led UMKCF fundraising efforts for health sciences, where he oversaw all fund development operations for the health sciences campus and helped lead a $302.5 million capital campaign.
“I am thrilled and honored to have the opportunity to join the USD Foundation,” Wilson said. “I was greatly impressed by the passion and enthusiasm on display from everyone I met in Vermillion, and the pride the community has for their university. The USD Foundation has a long history of supporting the university and its students, and I’m grateful to have the opportunity to build on this progress and grow the resources needed to support USD students throughout their educational experience.”
Since 1922, the USD Foundation has raised funds for the advancement of the state’s flagship university. Over the past two decades, the USD Foundation has raised more than $250 million in campus improvements and millions more for scholarships. In the past three years, the USD Foundation’s endowment has grown approximately 36% to a record $328 million, thanks to the continued generosity from university supporters and careful investment management from the foundation’s investment committee.
“We look forward to Jay’s leadership as we work together to advance the mission of the university and serve our students,” said USD President Sheila K. Gestring. “As the state’s flagship public liberal arts university, USD’s top priority is ensuring access and affordability for our students while maintaining our reputation for academic excellence. A strong foundation is critical to that success. We are very pleased to work with Jay as we continue to communicate the university’s priorities and build long-lasting relationships with our alumni and friends.”
Wilson graduated with a Bachelor of Science in political science from the University of Central Missouri and a Master of Public Administration in public policy from Park University. He joins the Coyote community with his girlfriend, Natalie, and their four children.
Founded in 1862 and the first university in the Dakotas, the University of South Dakota is the only public liberal arts university in the state, with 202 undergraduate and 84 graduate programs in the College of Arts & Sciences, School of Education, Knudson School of Law, Sanford School of Medicine, School of Health Sciences, Beacom School of Business and College of Fine Arts. With an enrollment of nearly 10,000 students and more than 400 faculty, USD has a 16:1 student/faculty ratio, and it ranks among the best in academics and affordability. USD’s 18 athletic programs compete at the NCAA Division I level.


Hanna DeLange
USD News


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