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Scott Wills Named Vice President for Advancement at Alma College

Wills currently serves as Assistant Vice President of University Advancement at Ohio Northern University

ALMA — Scott Wills has been named vice president for advancement at Alma College. His appointment is effective Feb. 21. Wills currently serves as Assistant Vice President of University Advancement at Ohio Northern University.

“Scott brings an energy and enthusiasm level to Alma along with an extensive track record in the operational, tactical and strategic aspects of institutional advancement, and the skills to match,” said Alma College President Jeff Abernathy. “He will be a pivotal leader for the advancement team and the important fundraising campaigns and related initiatives we’re starting over the next few years. We are pleased to welcome Scott and Jamie and their family to Alma.”

Over the course of two decades at Ohio Northern, Wills has worked in various Advancement capacities of increasing leadership; joining Ohio Northern as Director of The Northern Fund (the university’s annual fund), prior to becoming the director of development for The Raabe College of Pharmacy. Over the last 10 years, Wills has directed development efforts while maintaining a leadership giving portfolio in his roles as senior director of development and assistant vice president of advancement.

“The family environment at Alma is special – both literally in the many families with multiple generations having been Scots and figuratively in the family-like atmosphere that was very evident in my interactions during the entire search process,” Wills said.

“Alma has been on a remarkable journey under President Abernathy’s strong leadership, continuity, caring, and vision for the future. I am both humbled and thrilled to join President Abernathy and a passionate team that is poised for continued growth and commitment to the Alma vision,” he continued. “I believe in Alma College’s foundation in the liberal arts, complemented by its entrepreneurial spirit in establishing new academic and related programs to leverage its strengths in responding to student aspirations related to emerging market and societal needs. My wife, Jamie, and our family are looking forward to joining the Alma family and meeting alumni, faculty, staff, friends, and the Alma community.”

Wills brings extensive campaign experience to Alma, having played a leadership role in two successful comprehensive campaigns and a number of targeted capital and programmatic-focused campaigns. “The Campaign for Ohio Northern University’s Tomorrow” resulted in donations of $110 million ($10 million over goal) and the current comprehensive campaign in progress is currently exceeding goal projection. Both campaigns have included support for capital projects, program enrichment, student scholarships, and unrestricted support. Increased endowed support was realized during each campaign.

During Wills’ tenure as Assistant Vice President, development staff expansion has included athletics development and the successful establishment of the Polar Bear Club, which has provided a significant increase in annual support for athletics to complement the Angel for the Arts program to support the performing arts.

Wills has a unique and first-hand appreciation of the importance high impact learning outside of the classroom to complement the core academic curriculum. A former student-athlete, he has served as women’s tennis coach at Ohio Northern for 20 years and was recently honored as one of the top-10 winning coaches in NCAA Division III tennis history, with a record of 395–104.

Under Wills’ tenure, ONU captured eight Ohio Athletic Conference championships. In the classroom, the program achieved national academic team honors in 17 of the last 20 years.

Wills has also been active in supporting Greek life, both nationally and for the local chapter of Phi Mu Delta, of which Wills is a member. Additionally, Wills has been a strong advocate and partner for the performing arts growth and enhanced student organizational programming at Ohio Northern.

Prior to his move to higher education, Wills had a successful 15-year career in the private sector at American Electric Power (AEP). At AEP, Wills held various positions in marketing, public relations and new product development.

Wills holds a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration from Ohio Northern and a master’s degree in business administration from Ashland (Ohio) University.

At Alma, Wills will head an advancement staff charged with leading efforts to build, enhance, and steward the relationships and partnerships in support of Alma College’s mission. The advancement function includes responsibility for alumni and parent engagement, the Alma Fund, foundation relations, major and planned gifts, endowment and campaign initiatives, donor stewardship, and prospect research.

Wills’ hire follows the 2021 conclusion of Alma College’s “Our Time is Now” capital campaign, the most successful philanthropic initiative in the history of the college. Commitments totaling $125.2 million — including more than $40 million in gifts from the college’s Board of Trustees alone — surpassed the college’s ambitious goal of $120 million.

Story published on February 08, 2022