FAMU Alum Fills VP of University Relations Post

A Florida A&M alum has been named to lead the university’s fundraising efforts as vice president of university relations. Thomas Haynes Jr. was selected as vice president of university relations above four other finalists who interviewed for the job. Haynes is also a former FAMU employee. Haynes, a fundraising consultant in Maryland, earned his master’s in Counselor Education at FAMU and a doctoral degree in Educational Leadership at Florida State University.

Haynes will be responsible for conducting a $50 million capital campaign for FAMU. He succeeds Carla Willis, who left the position during the spring semester.

Haynes was also a finalist for the position in 2007, but Willis was picked instead. “I’m excited and I’m looking forward to rejoining the university in pursuing the goals of the campaign,” Haynes said.

He said he plans to assess the state of the university before he strategizes the fundraising plan. However, he said he wants to get everyone involved in the effort.

“We have to engage the entire FAMU family, alumni and students,” he said. “This is going to be a family affair.”

Haynes also wants to connect the university’s academic program with the missions of private corporations and public foundations by finding those that share a similar mission as the university and engaging them. In organizing the campaign, Haynes plans to not only engage students, but also encourage them to craft the FAMU story in compelling ways. Raising scholarship dollars is also part of the alum’s plan. He said it is essential for continual growth and development of the university.

His long-term goal is to build a fundraising infrastructure that will sustain the university, including generating resources outside the state’s allocation.

Sharon Saunders, interim vice president for university relations, said she is optimistic about the new VP of university relations. “I think that he’s going to do an outstanding job,” Saunders said.

“He has a strong background in fundraising, and he knows the FAMU culture.” Haynes also has a plan to target a higher giveback rate among young alumni by using the Internet and social media. “We don’t want to leave anybody behind in this campaign,” Haynes said.

During his earlier stint at FAMU, Haynes served as associate vice president for university relations and the executive director of the FAMU Business Industry Cluster from 1998 to 2003. After he left FAMU, he was the vice president for university advancement and executive director of university foundation at Montclair State University in New Jersey.

Jeff Shaw, coordinator of annual giving for the university, said Haynes seems to be very familiar with the university. “I think it’s going to work out very well with him having a relationship with our constituents and our alumni,” said Shaw. “He also seems like an easy person to work with.”

Haynes said he is anxious to start in his new post. Haynes’ first day is Oct. 31.

“I have a tremendous passion for the university,” Haynes said. “My two daughters graduated from the university so I am looking forward to talking to students to share the plan.”