Press Release for Wednesday, February 12, 2014

UNF Announces New Vice President for Development and Alumni Affairs

Media Contact: Joanna Norris, Director
Department of Public Relations
(904) 620-2102

After a national search, the University of North Florida has hired Joshua Merchant as the new vice president for Development and Alumni Affairs (DAA) and executive director of the UNF Foundation. He begins his new position Monday, April 7.

“I am confident that with Merchant’s experience and leadership in development, alumni engagement and marketing in higher education, he will advance the University to the next level,” said UNF President John Delaney.

Merchant will be responsible for providing vision and leadership to assist the deans and other University leadership in the planning, organizing and implementing of fundraising initiatives, including planned giving, annual giving, alumni engagement, capital and major campaigns, endowments, prospect research, scholarships and development funds. He will also serve as executive director of the Foundation and will be responsible for supervision of approved Foundation activities.

He comes to UNF with more than 15 years of development, alumni engagement and marketing experience in higher education. Currently, he is finishing a doctoral sabbatical from his position as vice president for Institutional Advancement at Albion College in Michigan, where he oversaw alumni engagement, external marketing and communications, advancement services as well as capital and annual fundraising.

Over the past five years, Merchant has significantly increased fundraising activity, redefined alumni engagement in practice and theory, added a marketing division to the advancement team and successfully launched a new branding campaign for the college. During the 2011-12 academic year, he also served as interim vice president for enrollment management, where he oversaw admissions and enrollment marketing.

Prior to serving at Albion College, he was assistant vice president of advancement at Interlochen Center for the Arts in northern Michigan. Earlier in his career, Merchant served as senior director of development at Central Michigan University’s College of Business Administration and as director of major gifts at Michigan State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine and College of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

An alumnus of Albion College, Merchant was a member of the Albion College Alumni Association Board of Directors for five years, serving as president from 2006 to 2008. He holds a master’s degree in extension education from Michigan State University and will receive his Ph.D. in education leadership from Western Michigan University in April.

He has presented at several national conferences on advancement-related topics and has also participated as a consultant for the Great Lakes College Association Global Liberal Arts Alliance Program at Al Akhawayn University in Ifrane, Morocco, and as a mentor for American University in Bulgaria. An active member of the Council for Advancement and Support of Education, Merchant serves as a member of the Commission on Alumni Engagement.

UNF, a nationally ranked university located on an environmentally beautiful campus, offers students who are dedicated to enriching the lives of others the opportunity to build their own futures through a well-rounded education.


-UNF-