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Tom Jennings Named Next Vice President for University Advancement at Washington and Lee

Tom-Jennings-–-FSU-photo-2016-1a-2 Tom Jennings Named Next Vice President for University Advancement at Washington and LeeTom Jennings

Tom Jennings, vice president for university advancement and president of the FSU Foundation at Florida State University in Tallahassee, has been named the next vice president for university advancement at Washington and Lee University.

Jennings previously served in development positions at Washington and Lee and the University of Virginia. He holds both a B.S. and M.A. in psychology from James Madison University, and a Ph.D. in higher education from UVA.

Jennings will start on August 10 and will succeed Dennis Cross, who is stepping down at the end of the calendar year after serving 16 years as W&L’s V.P. of university advancement. He was chosen after a national search conducted by a committee chaired by Steve McAllister, W&L’s vice president for finance and university treasurer.

“Tom’s extensive experience and proven leadership, paired with his knowledge of W&L, make him an ideal fit for this position and for the university,” said W&L President Will Dudley. “He is prepared to lead the fundraising campaign for our strategic plan, and to serve as a vital part of W&L’s senior team.”

“W&L’s educational and institutional values align closely with mine, and I understand and appreciate the university’s history and culture,” said Jennings. “The campus left an indelible mark on me during my decade of work there, and I am excited to come full circle and return to W&L and to Virginia.”

Jennings began his university advancement career at Washington and Lee in 1992 as a regional development officer during the $127 million “On the Shoulders of Giants” campaign. He was promoted to director of capital giving programs in 1995. In that role, he organized capital fundraising projects and led fundraising for 50th reunion classes. Next, he served as W&L’s director of law school relations from 1996 to 1999, and was subsequently promoted to director of university development. He managed all aspects of the university’s development program and led the early phases of W&L’s $225 million “For the Rising Generation” campaign.

Jennings joined UVA in 2002 as associate dean for development for the College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences, where he led development activities for UVA’s largest academic unit. From 2006 to 2010, Jennings served on UVA’s senior development staff, overseeing fundraising initiatives in the schools of engineering, architecture and education, and programs in the arts, historic preservation, and science and technology, as part of UVA’s $3 billion campaign.

Jennings joined Florida State University in 2010, where he led the university’s fundraising, alumni relations, advancement services, investment management, and real estate development efforts. As part of the FSU president’s cabinet, he and his colleagues helped FSU rise in U.S. News rankings among public research universities from #43 in 2014 to the top 20 in 2019.

Under his leadership at FSU, annual philanthropic support increased by 64% from 2010 to 2019, and FSU completed its first $1 billion campaign, which exceeded its goal by 15%. Jennings was instrumental in creating the FSU Real Estate Foundation in 2011, and he served on FSU’s 2016-17 Strategic Planning Committee and its Diversity and Inclusion Committee. He also served as a trustee on five of its institutionally-related foundation boards: FSU Foundation, FSU Alumni Association, FSU Real Estate Foundation, Seminole Boosters, and the Ringling Museum of Art Foundation, where he fostered collaboration and cooperation among these groups and FSU.

Jennings and his wife, Dawn, have four children ages 19-28. “We are excited about being at Washington and Lee,” Jennings said, “and I look forward to working with President Dudley and everyone in the W&L family to help sustain and extend W&L’s incredible legacy of success.”