ETSU is growing faster today than it has in years, and now there’s someone who has joined the university specifically to lead that growth.
Pamela S. Ritter was named the ETSU vice president for university advancement as of July.
“My role at ETSU is to help bring in funding to the university and help to build our alumni relations opportunities,” Ritter said. “It takes a lot more than tuition and state funding to run a university. I want students to understand that there are a lot of people out there supporting [ETSU] because they want to support it.”
Ritter was previously the senior director of corporate relations at Purdue University, where she raised $450 million for the “Campaign for Purdue” project and an average of $30 million in gifts for the past 11 years.
“We are very fortunate to have recruited a fundraising expert of this caliber to lead the advancement efforts for ETSU,” said ETSU President Brian Noland. “She joins ETSU at a time when giving and our pledges are the highest that have been in the past five years and total fundraising efforts have increased by 46 percent over last year.”
Ritter made her way to ETSU by way of connections in the area with Dennis Depew, dean of the College of Business and Technology at ETSU and dean emeritus of the College of Technology at Purdue and Scott Niswonger, a personal friend and Purdue alum.
“Between the two of them (Depew and Niswonger), they asked me to apply for the position,” Ritter said. “Then I met Dr. Noland, who has a great vision and a lot of energy. I was excited.”
Since starting at ETSU a few short months ago, Ritter has been working on an overall strategic plan for advancement.
She plans to hire people to work specifically in the colleges and with student affairs to get to better know ETSU students and alumni, and build affiliated programs such as the alumni association.
“Fundraising is all about relationships,” Ritter said. “Right now with football and the performing arts center, to name a few, there are major fundraising opportunities here; but we do not have enough people to do it.”
Other areas that Ritter is focusing on are with the SGA and Roan Scholars to create a senior class gift, as well as looking for ways to get companies to come to campus and directly hire students.
Ritter holds a B.S. degree in health education from Western Michigan University, and a M.S. degree in health administration from Purdue University.
“I thought that I was going to be a public health administrator,” Ritter said. “Then I ended up teaching instead and loved it. Then I took a left turn, and here I am.”