Jason Williby has been named the new president and CEO of the Fort Hays State University Foundation.
Williby has worked as director of development for the university’s fundraising arm since 2014 and was vice president of institutional advancement for the foundation the two years prior to that.
He will take over the foundation leadership at the beginning of July upon the retirement of Tim Chapman on June 30. Chapman will take an advisory role during the transition, according to an FHSU press release in January announcing his retirement.
Williby recognizes these are challenging times for fundraising and higher education.
“We have a couple of challenges in front of us,” he said Saturday. “One, we’d like to have a stronger agriculture and oil economy, but those things come and go.”
The second challenge is state funding. The budget signed by Gov. Sam Brownback in May cuts $30.6 million from higher education budgets, including almost a million dollars from FHSU.
“There’s a real pressure on the university in the decrease in state funding, which means the university is going to lean on the foundation even more with private dollars to support them,” Williby said. “That’s a message that alumni and our friends need to know, and know how important they are to us right now.”
The foundation is working with FHSU President Mirta Martin to identify the needs of the university and expects to have an announcement of fundraising plans before homecoming, Williby said.
He also said his goal for the foundation is to emphasize with students the importance of giving back to FHSU.
“My vision for the foundation is that we build a culture of philanthropy starting from the day freshmen move into the residence halls, throughout their life as a student and an alum. The importance of people making their annual gifts cannot be overstated to the students.”
Prior to joining the foundation, Williby was executive director of the Wyandotte County Chapter of the American Red Cross from 2007 to 2012.
He is an FHSU graduate with a bachelor of general studies degree with an emphasis in organizational leadership and was a member of Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity. He grew up in Oberlin.