When Kathleen “Kathy” Bowman became chief development officer of the Krannert School of Management at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana, the school’s development team was bringing in an average of $4 million per year over a five-year period.
When she left the position of five years last month to become Florida Polytechnic University’s new vice president of advancement, the average was over $22 million per year.
“We ensured best practice and procedures were in place and built a team that could work together supporting students to lead our next generation,” said Bowman, who arrived at Florida Poly on Sept. 6.
She brings her signature energy, focus, and determination to Florida Poly as she begins working to build a high-performing advancement team to help the University reach its strategic growth goals.
“Here at Florida Poly, It’s a clean slate. You’ve got a brand-new University with a great location, with the right vision and mission in this high-tech corridor,” Bowman said. “We have three graduating classes, so there’s not a lot of alumni able to give back a lot of support as they are just starting their careers. What we do have is our community support, and that includes the entire state as well as potential support from private foundations, corporate foundations, and grants, so support is not just in Polk County.”
“We need to continue developing relationships with those who have supported us in the past, forge new and deep partnerships with others and continue sharing stories of our students, alumni and university’s success to date,” Bowman said.
Bowman’s passion for fundraising began many years ago while she focused on a career in finance.
“My entire life I had been a fundraiser serving local non-profits, churches and other organizations in various volunteer positions. I loved the idea of raising money and creating opportunities for these nonprofit organizations,” she said.
Bowman even founded the nonprofit organization Clinton County Ministry of Hope to provide food and other resources for families in need. It grew and eventually had more than 400 volunteers.
“Someone told me ‘Your heart is in fundraising.’ ” Bowman said.
And it was.
She transitioned from her position as business development officer and branch officer at The Farmers Bank to associate director of development for planned giving at Purdue University.
As Bowman settles in the Lakeland area with her husband, Mike Bowman, and their 75-pound golden doodle, Chessie, the family is eager to be close to relatives nearby. Bowman’s mother, sister, and two of her three sons all live in Florida.
However, she is even more excited about building new relationships at Florida Poly.
“I want the University community to know I have an open-door policy,” Bowman said. “I want to get to know as many people as I can as quickly as I can.
“My job is to make the University look good, securing support and investment alongside our advancement team. If we do that, the goals we set will become a reality.”
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