UPDATE: Mark Power, UA’s top fundraising official, stepping down; Scott Varady named successor

by Paul Gatling ([email protected]) 2,471 views 

Mark Power

Mark Power, the University of Arkansas’ top fundraiser since 2017, is resigning as vice chancellor for university advancement, effective April 16.

According to an internal memo obtained by the Northwest Arkansas Business Journal, Power said he would remain in Fayetteville and transition to a senior advisor role working in philanthropic initiatives for the UA.

Power sent the email to advancement division staff Monday (March 13), describing the news as bittersweet.

“When I shared my intention [to step down] with [Chancellor] Dr. [Charles] Robinson early last month, he requested I remain at the University of Arkansas and asked how I could use my talents to best serve the institution,” Power wrote.

Power’s email did not indicate who his successor would be. He said Robinson would announce more detailed leadership transition plans later on Monday.

“This will be seamless for our division as we continue our mission of philanthropy and engagement at the University of Arkansas,” he wrote.

Power, who has worked in various fundraising roles at the UA for more than two decades, was not immediately available for comment.

Power held the vice chancellor’s job since 2017 after serving as an interim leader since August 2016. In announcing that promotion, Joe Steinmetz, formerly the UA chancellor, said Power was an effective leader, manager and fundraiser.

“He has successfully cultivated hundreds of friends and volunteers, raised millions of dollars in private gift support, and developed a highly functioning staff during his time with the university,” Steinmetz said.

Power’s vice chancellor responsibilities included oversight of three divisions:

The division’s three units:

  • University Development, which raises funds to advance the university’s mission
  • Arkansas Alumni Association, which supports the 26,000-member association
  • Donor Engagement, which supports events and donor interactions that advance the university’s mission

He led university-wide fundraising activities, including the UA’s Campaign Arkansas, an eight-year fundraising campaign that concluded in 2020 with $1.4 billion raised.

Power joined the University of Arkansas in 2001 as the director of development in the Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences. He helped the Bumpers College and the Division of Agriculture raise more than $98 million during the Campaign for the Twenty-First Century.

The UA promoted him to executive director of development in 2007, and in 2009, he became the executive director for development and principal gifts. Power was named assistant vice chancellor for development in 2011.

Power worked at the American Cancer Society Inc. in Little Rock from 1998 to 2001 where he was the development director his final year. He was the assistant director of admissions at Lyon College (Batesville) from 1994 to 1998.

Power is a 1994 graduate of the University of Texas at Arlington with a history degree. In 2011, Power was recognized by the Association of Fundraising Professionals Northwest Arkansas Chapter as the area’s most outstanding fundraising executive.

Scott Varady, a UA alum and longtime senior administrator, will succeed Power as vice chancellor. UA Chancellor Charles Robinson announced the appointment in a news release.

Since 2015, Varady has been executive director and general counsel for the Razorback Foundation Inc. The private fundraising arm raises millions of dollars in support of the UA athletics department.

Billye Veteto, the foundation’s chief financial officer, will replace Varady on an interim basis beginning April 17. The foundation’s board of directors has formed a search committee that will conduct a national search for Varady’s replacement.