New leadership has been announced for the UAFS Foundation at the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith.
Blake Rickman will be the new UAFS vice chancellor for university advancement and executive director of the UAFS Foundation beginning Jan. 1.
Rickman is currently the senior director of development and external relations at the Fulbright College of Arts & Sciences at the University of Arkansas.
In his new role, Rickman will be “responsible for leading a centralized advancement team in vision, strategy and implementation to support the university’s mission and goals,” a media release stated. He will lead campaign planning for the university.
As senior development director at the Fulbright College, Rickman has been responsible for the planning and implementation of the college’s development and external relations program and oversees management of college and regional committees and major, planned, corporate and foundation gifts over $10,000. He also served as development liaison to the 19 science, arts and humanities departments in the college, as well as more than 40 research centers, institutes and academic programs.
Among his accomplishments while at UA were helping establish the School of Art in the Fulbright College, funded by a $120 million gift from the Walton Family Charitable Foundation in 2017, the largest gift ever given to a university in the United States to support or establish a school of art.
With the new positions, Rickman will be coming home. He is a Fort Smith native and has a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Arkansas Tech University and a master’s degree in higher education administration from UA.
“Under the leadership of Dr. (Edward) Serna (interim chancellor at UAFS), I am confident that this university will continue to serve as a key contributor to workforce development and an economic engine to the River Valley,” Rickman said in the release. “My goal is to advance this trend and work to leverage philanthropic resources to expand campus opportunities via student, faculty, capital and programmatic support.”
Serna said Rickman would be a valuable addition to senior administration.
“From the outset, we were impressed with Blake’s accomplishments at the University of Arkansas and his ability to lead a comprehensive advancement team,” Serna said. “Having grown up in Fort Smith, Blake already has connections to our area, which was another important quality we wanted in our next advancement leader. He will be a valuable addition to our leadership team at UAFS, and we are excited to have him hit the ground running in 2019.”
Rickman will replace Dr. Mary Lackie, who resigned from the role earlier this year to accept a position as executive director of development at the University of Central Arkansas.