Carla Willis is leaving Florida A&M for familiar territory in Ohio. Willis, the vice president of student relations and the executive director of the FAMU Foundation Inc., is leaving on April 15.
Willis has been with FAMU since February 2008. During her three years of employment at the university, she has raised $175,000 for FAMU’s marching band to perform in President Obama’s inaugural parade, raised the alumni participation rate from 2.8 percent to 6.8 percent and completed a compressive campaign feasibility study to launch a $50 million comprehensive campaign for FAMU, she said via an email to The FAMUAN.
When Willis announced her resignation on March 18, President James Ammons praised her for helping to “reassess our development efforts and position the university for a new comprehensive fundraising campaign.”
“She has achieved several milestones during her career here and will leave us with a solid fundraising operation,” Ammons said in a university press release.
Doug Smith, a graduate assistant for Willis, enjoyed working with her. In a year, they created a friendship and a professional bond.
“We have a good relationship. Carla is a superstar in the fundraising industry,” Smith said. “Through her, I’ve grown professionally and personally. She is a great person to work for.”
Willis has worked more than 17 years in the area of higher-education fundraising according to an online article.
Smith shared his personal thoughts toward Willis and her hard work to better the university.
“She has helped FAMU go forward and personally, I’m going to hate to see her go,” Smith said. “She’s taking with her a lot of friendships. She’s one of those people you just love.”
Willis said she lived in Ohio for 17 years prior to coming to FAMU, and when she received the opportunity to go back to Ohio, she couldn’t pass it up.
“I am leaving because I have accepted a new opportunity with Ohio State University. I will be an assistant vice president of the medical center,” Willis said.
At Ohio State, she will have development management responsibility for several units including heart, neuroscience, transplants, personal and sports medicine.
Willis begins her new job on May 2.
Smith said FAMU is not only losing a friend but also an asset to the team. Willis’s many accomplishments make’s an unforgettable women.
“I have truly enjoyed my professional experience at FAMU,” Willis said. “The University Relations team is a team of hard working professionals who time and time again, rise to accomplish the goals and objectives that have been set by the University; I know they will continue to excel. “