Kennesaw State names new vice president for university advancement and development


Missouri State’s Michael J. Harders tapped to lead KSU’s fundraising efforts  …

Georgia (Jan 26, 2012) —  

Missouri State’s Michael J. Harders tapped to lead KSU’s fundraising efforts
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KENNESAW, Ga. (Jan. 26, 2012) — Kennesaw State University President Daniel S. Papp has named Michael J. Harders as the university’s new vice president for advancement and development, effective April 2. Harders will succeed Wesley K. Wicker, who resigned from the position in October after leading the successful completion of the university’s first comprehensive capital campaign, which raised $75 million.
Harders joins Kennesaw State from Missouri State University in Springfield, Mo., where he has served as executive director of development since 2007.  He was among a pool of 45 candidates that vied for the position, in a national search chaired by KSU Provost W. Ken Harmon.
“We are looking forward to welcoming Mike to Kennesaw State," said Papp. "His solid experience in university advancement and his track record of meeting and exceeding campaign goals made him stand out among the finalists and makes him a perfect fit for us.  He will be a wonderful addition to the leadership team.”
In his new role at Kennesaw State, Harders will lead the university’s comprehensive advancement team, overseeing annual giving, major gifts, planned giving, corporate and foundation relations programs, as well as alumni affairs. He will report to Papp and serve as a member of the President’s cabinet.
During his tenure at Missouri State, Harders was responsible for restructuring the development department, which resulted in enhanced donor relationships and increased gifts to the university. While at Missouri State, he set new fundraising records each year for four consecutive years.  In addition, Harders was responsible for the coordination of “Our Promise-The Campaign for Missouri State University," a $125 million comprehensive campaign.
Harders began his career in higher education as a development officer for the Kansas State University Foundation.  Over his seven years at Kansas State, he was promoted three times and held the position of senior director of development for the College of Arts and Sciences before joining Missouri State. During that period, he developed the college’s first five-year strategic fundraising plan and increased private support for the college from $1.1 million to more than $7 million annually.
“I am excited to have the opportunity to work with Dr. Papp and the entire Kennesaw State administration,” said Harders.  “The university’s academic programs are strong, and the faculty, staff and students are exceptional.  I am truly looking forward to working with the campus community, the alumni organization, the KSU Foundation and our community partners to build on an already solid foundation to help position the university for greater success in the future.” 
Harders is an active member of his community and has held several leadership roles in local organizations, including the Boys and Girls Club of Manhattan, Kansas, and the Springfield Sunrise Rotary Club. He earned his B.A. in history and political science from Kansas State University.
Since Wicker's departure from the vice president’s post in October, Joe Meeks, dean of KSU’s College of the Arts, has served in the role on an interim capacity. 
“I’d like to thank Joe Meeks for all of his support and dedication over the past few months,” Papp stated. “He has been a great help to the university, serving double duty as both a dean and as interim vice president for advancement.  We highly value and sincerely appreciate his leadership and contributions during this transition.”
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Kennesaw State University is the third-largest university in Georgia, offering 80 graduate and undergraduate degrees, including doctorates in education, business and nursing and a new Ph.D. in international conflict management. A member of the 35-unit University System of Georgia, Kennesaw State is a comprehensive, residential institution with a growing population of 24,100 studentsf from more than 130 countries.


A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its nearly 43,000 students. With 11 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the country and the world. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 6 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit