The University Advancement team partners with ETSU’s donor and alumni populations as well as engaged constituents, such as parents, business and industry leaders, and other friends, across the country to build long-lasting relationships and generate immediate, long-range, and future investments to support the institution’s mission of improving the quality of life of others.
The needs of our students and this campus are great, but so is our determination and our passion for creating transformative opportunities and for assisting students who will be forces for good in our communities and this world.
Vice President of University Advancement
President/CEO of the ETSU Foundation
Pam came to ETSU from Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana, where she spent 27 years as a senior-level fundraiser working in major gifts, corporate relations, alumni relations, and administration. As senior director of Purdue’s Office of Corporate Relations from 2004-15, Pam managed offices in West Lafayette, Chicago, and Indianapolis and led effort to raise $450 million of the successful $1.7 billion “Campaign for Purdue” project. In addition, her team raised an average of $30 million in gifts and $20 million in in-kind gifts per year, for the past 11 years. Her duties also included developing long-range strategic plans and assisting university-wide programs with fundraising activities. Pam joined Purdue in 1987 and held such titles as director of Class Gifts and Director of Development for the College of Technology before moving into corporate relations. Pam holds a B.S. degree in health education from Western Michigan University and an M.S. in health administration from Purdue. She is a member of the Network of Academic Corporate Relations Officers, the Council for Advancement and Support of Education and the Association of Fundraising Professionals. Prior to working in fundraising, Pam spent four years as a school teacher in Indiana and was a district representative for the American Cancer Society.
Mitzi Whitt ’13
Originally from Ohio, Mitzi moved to East Tennessee in 2001 where she began her ETSU work career. In 2013, she completed her Bachelor of Science degree with a minor in Business and a concentration in Accounting. She then moved to Prescott, Arizona where she continued to work in academia and study, receiving an MBA from Grand Canyon University in January 2016. Mitzi returned to East Tennessee to be near family and friends in February 2016 and was assigned as Office Manager for University Advancement on March 1, 2016. Her responsibilities include coordinating administrative services for University Advancement and providing direct executive support to the Vice President for Advancement.
Suzanne Williams joined East Tennessee State University in October 2006. She began
working in the College of Nursing and in the Gatton College of Pharmacy from July
2007 until December 2017. Suzanne completed her Associates Degree in Office Technology
from Virginia Highlands Community College. Once employed at ETSU, Suzanne completed the Certified Professional Secretary exam. She brings over 20
years of Office Administration experience with her. She is very excited to have the
opportunity to work in University Advancement.
Suzanne enjoys spending time with her husband, Todd and doing outdoor recreational activities, home renovation projects, and other activities with her family. She has two children, Austin, and Madison, who are both students at ETSU.
John King ’88 '22
Associate Vice President of University Advancement
John is a native of Erwin, Tennessee and two-time graduate from ETSU, earning his B.S. Degree in Mass Communication in 1988, and later adding his Master’s Degree in Digital Marketing in 2022. He is also a former member of the ETSU men’s basketball team. He joined the University Advancement team at ETSU in March 2017 after spending 11 ½ years working in senior-level fundraising and alumni relations at King University in Bristol, Tennessee, where he served as Vice President for Development and a member of the President’s Cabinet. At ETSU, John works with the directors of development to assist in maximizing their efforts to secure major gifts that benefit the various schools, programs, and the University as a whole. He also serves as a member of the University Advancement Leadership Team, as well as the development officer for the Bill Gatton College of Pharmacy. John is married to Keyla Torbett King, a 1989 graduate of the ETSU Dental Hygiene program, and they have two adult children.
Director of Development, College of Arts & Sciences
Denise is a 1986 Mass Communications graduate of Emory & Henry College, who began working at ETSU in October 2018. She worked in advertising & marketing in Bristol, Virginia for 8 1/2 years before beginning her career in higher education Advancement in 1997. She lives in Abingdon with husband Allen and together they enjoy spending time with their adult children, Ryan and his wife Abby, and daughter Kayla, who is a student at ETSU. Completing the family are Molly the dog and Mia the cat. Denise’s work with alumni, students, faculty, staff, and community members is very rewarding and she enjoys representing the University, especially the programs in the College of Arts & Sciences.
Holly Booker '09
Director of Development, College of Public Health
Holly Booker graduated from ETSU with a B.S. in Mass Communications in 2009. She joined the ETSU Advancement team in March 2022. Holly has been working in a non-profit for over ten years. Her philanthropic career began with Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee, writing grants and training volunteers. She is an enthusiastic relationship-builder who has been using her skills to mobilize community leaders to fund and advocate for the American Cancer Society for the last seven years. When she's not out meeting new people and saving the world one donation at a time, she is more than likely at someone's practice. The flower-loving, dirt-digging, wanna-be runner is raising her three spirited children with the boy who fell in love with her and her jump-shot playing intramural basketball on the ETSU campus. She is thrilled to be working with the College of Public Health and fundraising for an extraordinary school.
DIRECTOR OF DEVELOPMENT, MARTIN CENTER FOR THE ARTS
A native of Waynesville, North Carolina, Jenny has worked in the art world across many different fields. She began her studies at East Carolina University, earning dual degrees in studio arts and art history before continuing her art history studies at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland. She began her career in the art world at Sotheby's in London before moving to the NYC office. She came to ETSU in the spring of 2023 working as an adjunct professor in the Department of Art and Design and is continuing her love of the arts by joining the ETSU Martin Center Advancement team. In addition to art, Jenny enjoys musical theater and ballet.
Dessi Ford ’00
Director of Development, Student Life and Enrollment, Roan Scholars, & Honors College
Dessi is a native of ETSU and joined the Advancement team in January 2019. She earned her Bachelor of Business Administration degree from ETSU in December of 2000, majoring in Marketing. For 19 years she led a team of Sales Consultants as a Senior Sales Director for Mary Kay Cosmetics, ranking in the top 2% of the company and earning 11 free cars including 3 Pink Cadillacs. In 2015 she moved into non-profit fundraising as the Director of Development for SteppenStone Youth Treatment Services in Limestone, TN. There she was instrumental in developing and implementing a comprehensive fundraising program for the organization. Dessi has a daughter who is currently in New York City pursuing a career in Musical Theatre. She enjoys watching TV, traveling, spending time with friends, and playing with her 3 dogs. She also has been a group fitness instructor for 23 years and currently teaches dance fitness at Victory Fitness in Jonesborough, TN.
Director of Development, College of Nursing and College of Clinical & Rehabilitative Health Sciences
A Richmond, VA native, Anne obtained a B.S. degree in Human and Organizational Development from Vanderbilt University. In Richmond, Anne worked in annual giving, responsible for raising over a million dollars annually for an independent K-12 girls’ school, where she broke the school record three times for most money raised in annual giving, with record high percentages of both alumnae and parent giving. After relocating to Johnson City in 2008, Anne led the parent-teacher associations for Indian Trail Middle School and Science Hill High School, where she developed and ran a student leadership program with the school’s principal. Anne also served on the board of the Friends of the Johnson City Public Library and volunteered with the youth program at Munsey United Methodist Church. She joined Mountain States Health Alliance in February 2016 in the Marketing and Communications Department, ultimately coordinating system-wide events for Ballad Health as well as events and tours for Niswonger Children’s Hospital. Anne and her husband, Jim, have three college-aged children and a German Shorthaired Pointer, and enjoy hiking and traveling.
DIRECTOR OF DEVELOPMENT, COLLEGE OF BUSINESS AND TECHNOLOGY
Born and raised in Johnson City, Rebecca graduated from ETSU with a Mass Communications degree in 1998. Rebecca started her career as Marketing Director of the Elizabethton Star Newspaper and Star Technology Group in Elizabethton and then spent more than 20 years with Bank of Tennessee and Carter County Bank where she was responsible for marketing, website development, events, public relations, and crisis communications. Rebecca joined ETSU’s Advancement team as the Director of Development for the College of Business and Technology in 2023. She is an avid non-profit advocate, focusing on organizations that impact the lives of children. Her volunteer and board involvement has included Hands! On Regional Museum, Niswonger Children’s Hospital NICU, Elizabethton/Carter County Boys and Girls Club, Lucy Simpson Foundation, Johnson City Public Schools Foundation, and Make A Wish East Tennessee, to name a few. Rebecca also loves to travel, spend time with family and friends, and is newly married to local business owner, Ian Huddleston. Together, they have three adult children and one grandchild.
Director of Development, Intercollegiate Athletics
Desmond Pierce came to ETSU from the University of Pittsburgh where he worked in Major Gifts for the Athletic Department. Desmond also served stints at Trevecca Nazarene University as an Assistant Athletic Director and at King University as the Head Coach for Cross Country and Track and Field. He is a native of Morristown and a 2014 ETSU graduate. He was a member of the Cross Country and Track & Field teams from 2010-2014. Desmond is blessed and excited to come back to ETSU to start fundraising for Intercollegiate Athletics. He and his wife Ashley “Kessler” Pierce, who was a pole vaulter for the Bucs Track & Field team, are expecting their first child in July and are thrilled to be back in the East Tennessee community.
Director of Development, College of Arts & Sciences
Mona came to ETSU in August 2019 from King University, Bristol, Tennessee where she worked for over 14 years in Enrollment Management, focusing on business development and expanding the recruitment footprint throughout Southwest Virginia and East Tennessee. She has been active in several regional chambers of commerce and networking groups. Prior to higher education, Mona worked in banking and public schools. She earned her bachelor of science degree in business with a major in finance from Virginia Tech. In her spare time, Mona enjoys live music, theatre, hiking, traveling, and spending time with her family.
Director of Development, Intercollegiate Athletics
Eryn Samuels came to ETSU from The University of New Mexico (UNM) in Albuquerque where she served as the Director/Assistant Athletic Director of Development and Premium Seating for three-and-a-half years. While at New Mexico, she raised close over $1 million in cash and pledged gifts for UNM’s premium seating and Lobo Student-Athlete Scholarship Fund. Prior to her time as a Lobo, she was a member of The University of Texas Athletics staff as a sales and marketing representative where she assisted in the sales of 9,961 new Texas Football season ticket purchases for the 2017 season, while tripling new ticket sales for the Longhorns to 33,423 in 2018 yielding an increase of $1.17 million in ticket revenue and $1.46 million in annual gift revenue for the 2018 fiscal year. Eryn also spent time at Florida State University in their Seminole Booster Club and was a student intern in 2014 for The University of Georgia Athletic Compliance Office. A graduate of ETSU, she was a four-year member of ETSU’s Volleyball Program from 2011-2015 and was part of the team who won ETSU’s first Volleyball A-Sun Championship Title in 2012. In addition to her time as a student-athlete, Eryn was also a 4-year member of ETSU’s Multicultural Affairs Gospel Choir. Her primary responsibilities are to advance philanthropic efforts and resources for Buccaneer student-athletes and ETSU Athletic advancement at-large.
Director of Development, Clemmer College of Education and Human Development/University Programs
Karen is originally from Wichita, Kansas. Her baccalaureate degree is in Broadcast Communications from Southern Illinois University, with a minor in Minority Studies. As a former military spouse, she has lived in many places throughout the continental United States, from New York to California. Her working career began in broadcasting, as a reporter and announcer for a local television affiliate in Wichita, continued as a Production Assistant for the pilot and first season of “20/20,” and as a D.J. in Louisiana. Moving to Johnson City in 1991, her roles at ETSU have included those of Program Advisor for Multicultural Affairs; Financial Aid Counselor; and Assistant Director of Adult, Commuter, and Transfer Student Services. She has served on many university committees, has served as President of the ETSU Staff Senate. Karen is responsible for the research of donor prospects, cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship.
Executive Director of Annual Giving
Jon See is the Executive Director for Annual Giving since November 2015. Jon is responsible for acquiring, upgrading, and renewing contributors to the university, including directing ETSU’s Day of Giving activities. Retired from the U.S. Air Force since 2003, Jon helped over 500 Purdue University Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) cadets become commissioned officers. He also has experience in academic information technology, academic administration, and in University Corporate Relations. He is a graduate of the Community College of the Air Force and has a BA from Concordia University—Wisconsin. He has an adult son named Tyler and two dogs (Jodie and Bodie) who literally run circles around him.
Assistant Director of Annual Giving
Tyler is a native of East Tennessee and joined the ETSU University Advancement team in March 2017. He graduated from King University with a B.S. in Biology and a minor in Chemistry in 2014. Prior to this position, Tyler served King University for 3 years as an Admissions Counselor. In his current role, he analyzes and manages financial reports and scholarship processes, oversees the cultivation and stewardship of donors as well as serves as the project manager on direct mail, e-mail, social media, and leadership annual giving appeals.
Executive Director of Planned Giving
Rebecca joined the ETSU University Advancement team in June 2018 as the Director of Development in the College of Business and Technology. An East Tennessee native, Rebecca attended Tusculum College, completed a B.A. in political science, and was also a women’s tennis team member. Immediately after graduating from Tusculum, Rebecca joined the Tusculum College Office of Institutional Advancement and served for five years as the Associate Director of Alumni and Parent Relations. Rebecca then taught Government and World History at two local high schools where she was also a women’s basketball coach. During her tenure teaching, Rebecca completed her M.A. in Educational Theory and Practice from Arkansas State University. Since coming to ETSU, Rebecca has also completed her M.B.A. from the College of Business and Technology, and is excited to be a Buc alum! In her current role as Executive Director of Planned Giving, she works with alumni and friends of the University who want to create a legacy at ETSU. Rebecca enjoys spending time with family and friends, playing tennis, and enjoying her home in Afton with her rescue dog, Ziva Mae.
Assistant Vice President of Advancement Services
Beth came to ETSU in March of 2016 from The University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee where she served as Director of Advancement Services for 16 years. Beth implemented numerous software systems and process improvements while supporting two comprehensive capital campaigns during her tenure at Sewanee. She likes to describe her responsibilities as encompassing “behind the scenes” support for the Advancement division. Beth has an undergraduate degree in Music Education and a Master in Business Administration degree from Shenandoah University in Winchester, Virginia. She is a member of the Association of Advancement Services Professionals and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education. Beth enjoys spending time with her husband, Paul, adult children, Kate & Jake, and her Airedale terrier. She also enjoys all forms of music and serving in various community volunteer roles.
Nicole Dowell ’14
Nicole joined the University Advancement team in August 2015 to process gifts and make biographical database updates. In July of 2017, she was promoted to Technology Coordinator. In this position, Nicole supplies the division with reports and mailing lists and handles numerous technical projects. She also assists with prospect research and Advancement Services training. Nicole earned her Bachelor of Business Administration degree in May 2014, majoring in Accounting and is currently working on a degree in Information Science at ETSU.
Prospect Research Analyst
Cody joined ETSU in September 2016 after serving as Director of Advancement Services at Tusculum College. A native of North Georgia, he attended Tusculum College and graduated in 2008 with a degree in business administration. He also obtained an MBA from Milligan College in 2011. Cody lives in Greeneville with his wife, Cierra, and two daughters.
Donald Harvill ’92
Donald earned his B.S. degree in 1992 from ETSU in Mathematics, with a minor in Computer Science, and worked for nearly three years in the Quillen College of Medicine’s Office of Academic Affairs before moving to University Advancement in September 1996. His primary duties include reporting from Advancement’s database, compiling reports using data from multiple sources (such as the annual Voluntary Support of Education survey), and providing technical support to other Advancement employees. Donald is a member of the Association for Advancement Services Professionals (AASP). He and his wife Leigh Anne Harvill, a 1994 ETSU graduate, have two children, Gray and Jackson, and four cats.
Communications and Marketing
Joe Smith '94, '16
Executive Director of Advancement Communications
Joe Smith has worked in higher education communications and marketing for over 25
years. He holds two degrees from ETSU. A native of Elizabethton, Joe has been a proud
Buccaneer since he first stepped on campus as a student in 1990 and has never left.
He is the recipient of the ETSU Distinguished Staff Award as well as the alumni hall
of fame award from the Department of Media and Communication where he also serves
as an adjunct faculty member.
In his free time, Joe loves being an uncle to his two nephews and niece, binging his favorite shows, or planning dinner parties, even though he can’t cook. He enjoys attending local theater productions and looks for any excuse to visit NYC to see the latest Broadway shows. He is a Trustee at Barter Theatre, a member of the Johnson City Public Art Committee, and a board member at the Jonesborough Repertory Theatre.
Joe lives in Johnson City with his two rescue dogs – Stella, who runs the house, and Stuart, his loyal BFF.
Executive Director, ETSU National Alumni Association
Whitney Goetz was named Executive Director of the ETSU National Alumni Association in July 2020. A native of Johnson City, Tennessee, she holds a Bachelors degree in Mass Communications from ETSU and an M.B.A. from Milligan College. After graduating from ETSU, Whitney began her career at Mountain States Health Alliance before moving to Washington, DC to work for United States Senator Bob Corker. She returns to ETSU from Nashville, Tennessee where she most recently worked for the Tennessee Department of Treasury leading Human Resources and public policy. Whitney is a proud graduate of ETSU and loves the Appalachian Highlands region. She is passionate about finding new ways to reconnect and stay engaged with our Alumni.
Karen Crigger ’90
ETSU Alumni Communications & Technology Coordinator
Karen is a 1990 graduate of ETSU with a bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts with an emphasis in illustration. She began working with the ETSU Alumni staff in 2014 after working in the media for the past 20 years. Karen’s main functions are updating the website, sending electronic newsletters, updating alumni records, and creating promotional material for the Alumni Office. Karen is married and has two sons, one at Austin Peay, and the other at Science Hill High School.
Lee Ann Davis’91, ’09
Director of Alumni Programs
Lee Ann graduated from ETSU with a degree in Mass Communication in 1991 and in 2009 completed a Masters of Professional Studies in Strategic Leadership. As the Director of Alumni Programs, Lee Ann serves as primary contact with alumni and friends. Her primary duties include planning, promoting, and conducting alumni activities. She also cultivates volunteer leadership for alumni programs and develops new programs for ETSU alumni and students including the Alumni Mentor program, Student Recruitment activities, ETSU PRIDE, Homecoming, Affinity group reunions, Alumni recognition programs and Spring Alumni Weekend. In addition, Lee Ann works with local media to promote ETSU alumni-centric stories, helps produce promotional videos for alumni initiatives, serves as the webmaster for the alumni website www.etsualumni.org and coordinates many of the ETSU National Alumni Association’s social media communication channels.
Leisa Harvey ’94
Leisa Harvey began working at ETSU in 2002 and joined the Alumni Staff as Office Coordinator in September 2006. She holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from East Tennessee State University. Harvey’s main functions as Office Coordinator are planning meetings and events facilitated by the Alumni Office Staff and managing the Office’s daily budgeting activities. Harvey also facilitates fee collection and ticketing for events and the fulfillment of products available for purchase by alumni and friends. Her husband, Travis, is Maintenance Lead Worker at Shelbridge, and they have a daughter, Lauren, who is a junior at University School..
Savannah, who was born and raised in Boynton Beach, Florida, moved to Johnson City to pursue her degree. She earned a bachelor's degree in kinesiology from East Tennessee State University in May of 2023. She spent all four years of her undergraduate on the East Tennessee Dance team, where she was awarded a creative arts scholarship each year. Along with being a part of POLO (preview orientation leader organization) and BIGs (Buccaneer Involvement Guide). She also worked part-time as a fitness and wellness intern, a facility assistant, and a cycle instructor at the campus gym, Basler Center for Physical Activity. At a nearby dance facility named The Dance Company, she enjoys teaching a variety of dance forms to kids from the age of three to eighteen. As well as always supporting the BUCS at sporting events.
Cyndi Ramsey ’06
Associate Director for Alumni Services
Cyndi Ramsey joined the Alumni Staff in March, 2007. She graduated from ETSU in 2006 with a degree in Education with an emphasis in English. Cyndi’s main duties include alumni event organization and support, affinity group relations engaging special interests and segments of the alumni population, assisting with alumni social media sites, student- alumni outreach including the College Tour, Real World 101 and the annual golf tournament, as well as the ETSU ambassador program which enlists alumni volunteers to represent ETSU’s President at Inaugurals and Convocations, as well as other events. She first joined the office as an Information Research Technician before promotion to her current role. Cyndi has also performed and taught various forms of dance and ballet on a regular basis and danced professionally for a ballet company in North Carolina.
Caleb Tull ’10, ’13
Assistant Director of Alumni Membership and Outreach
Caleb comes to Advancement after serving the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics as Associate Director of Game-Day Logistics for the inaugural return season of Buccaneer Football. Caleb originally joined the Alumni Staff as a Graduate Assistant in 2011, completing his MBA in 2013. Caleb’s current duties are to spearhead the Grads of the Last Decade (GOLD) alumni group, the Student Alumni Association, as well as working on advertising sales for ETSU Today. Caleb also provides support to multiple ETSU events and alumni activities, growing loyalty and support for the institution.
University Foundation Accounting
Chief Financial Officer
Director of Fiscal Affairs
David is a native of East Tennessee and joined ETSU in August of 2019 after working as a bank accountant. He graduated ETSU in 2017 with a Bachelors in Accountancy and graduated with an MBA from Milligan College in 2019. David lives in Elizabethton, TN with his wife Katarina.
Andrea Jimenez ’12, '13
Executive Director of Foundation and Research Foundation Accounting
Andrea, who earned her BBA and MAcc degrees at ETSU, returned to her alma mater as an accountant in 2016 after a stint in public accounting. She now leads the team responsible for all accounting functions for the Foundation. When not at work, Andrea enjoys knitting and spending time with her husband and sons.
Martin Center/University Events
Executive Director of the Martin Center and University Events
Jennifer Clements is a native of Unicoi and a proud graduate of Ohio Northern University with her BS in Management and Accounting and of ETSU with a Master’s of Business Administration. Jennifer serves as the inaugural executive director of the Martin Center for the Arts. An active member of Munsey United Methodist Church, Jennifer has chaired the Johnson City Christmas Parade for the past several years and serves as a member of the Blue Plum Organization Board, Frontier Health Foundation Board, Donate for Life, and the Johnson City Junior League. She was honored by the Business Journal of the Tri-Cities as one of the region’s “40 Under 40” leaders. Jennifer and her husband Jeff reside in Johnson City with their two dogs, Gilbert Blythe and Anne Shirley.