New UM president shows fundraising ability

Published 2:09 pm Friday, March 5, 2010

The University of Montevallo’s incoming president has shown major fundraising ability wherever he’s been.

John W. Stewart III, who was named UM’s 15th president March 3, has played an integral role in raising money for all four of the educational institutions where he’s been in leadership positions.

Stewart’s fundraising ability is a major reason he was named the next UM president, according to trustee Todd Strange.

At William Carey University in Hattiesburg, Miss., Stewart began as an English professor in 1997 and quickly moved up the ranks to become director of development in 2000. In that position, he secured a major gift to fund a nursing facility, which was, at the time, the first new building on campus in 25 years.

He also worked to secure donations from new donors and organized the first Celebrity Challenge Golf Tournament at William Carey.

In 2001, Stewart moved on to the University of Southern Mississippi, also in Hattiesburg, to become the director of major gifts and director of development operations.

While there, he brought in major gifts in association with a $100 million fundraising campaign. In his first eight months, Stewart personally closed 28 major gifts, many of which were from non-alumni.

Stewart then went to Swarthmore College in Swarthmore, Penn., in 2001, where he was the director of capital giving. There, he managed a $230 million fundraising campaign while bringing in more money for the college’s $900 million endowment.

In 2003, Stewart was hired back at William Carey, where he remained for two years as vice president of development. He increased the university’s endowment by more than 32 percent, increased alumni giving by almost 11 percent and secured funding to construct a new museum and a new nursing school.

Finally, Stewart was named vice president for institutional advancement at Flagler College in St. Augustine, Fla. in 2005. There, he increased total fundraising from $1.3 million to $22 million in his first two years. He raised $30 million in three years and secured the largest gift in the history of Flagler at $7.5 million.

Stewart also increased the alumni giving participation rate from 17.5 percent to 25 percent while meeting all fundraising goals during the recession.

Stewart received his degrees in history and English from Wake Forest University, Washington College and Southern Miss. While working towards his doctorate degree in English, he focused on African and Caribbean literature and post-colonial theory.