An Update from Advancement

I want to share with you some strategic changes we have made in the Advancement Division to prepare for a new and exciting era of fundraising and relationship-building. 

Greetings Faculty and Staff,

I want to share with you some strategic changes we have made in the Advancement Division to prepare for a new and exciting era of fundraising and relationship-building. 

I have promoted Albert Grunenwald to Associate Vice President of Advancement. Albert came to Cedarville in 2017 after serving as Executive Director of the Iowa 4-H Foundation. He brings over 20 years of successful fundraising experience and practices. In this new and expanded role on our team, he provides tactical and strategic oversight for the entire division.

Albert formerly led our Development department, and we have asked Kevin Howells ’90 to serve as Interim Executive Director in the transition. Even in the midst of COVID-19 and travel restrictions, our frontline fundraising team of Kevin, Bobby Camilleri, and Nancy Voorhies has continued to work hard to connect Kingdom resources with Kingdom opportunities here at Cedarville. The Cedarville Fund celebrated another record-breaking year under the continued leadership of Director Angie Bartel, who has been joined by Trixie Dobney ’15 as Assistant Director of Scholarships and Cassidy Zawadski as Annual Giving Coordinator

After providing many years of leadership in our Alumni Relations office, Jeff Beste ’86 is serving in a new important role on the Advancement team: Director of Strategic Relations. I’ve often heard Jeff referred to as “Mr. Cedarville” due to his decades-spanning influence and breadth of relationships with alumni and friends of the University. In this new role, Jeff is working strategically alongside our development team to build on those important relationships and networks, expanding into community relations, as well as continuing his work with our Parents Leadership Council. 

I am excited to announce a new Alumni Engagement office, focused on equipping our 30,000-plus alumni for greater involvement and engagement with their time, talents, and treasure. We will begin a search for a permanent director in the future. Until then, Melanie Edris ’17, is serving as Interim Director. 

We also saw an opportunity to streamline our event and communication efforts by creating a centralized Advancement Experience department. This team of creative individuals, led by Rahul Jacob ’17 as Director, ensures every interaction with constituents, whether campus or regional events to stewardship, acknowledgment, recognition, and engagement activities have “excellence stamped all over.” Rah is joined by Alathea de Almeida ’07 and Kaileigh McCann.

Reliable data is central to our work in Advancement, and I am grateful for a fine team of professionals in our departments of Advancement Services and Prospect Development. These two teams have now joined together under the new umbrella of Research and Reporting, led by Interim Executive Director, Shelby Hamrick ’15. Continuing in their roles on this team are Cheryl Fisher, Joyce Reese, Sherrie Waugh, and Jessicah Zehring ’08. 

Finally, I am grateful for a strong team in the Office of the Vice President. I have asked Jonathan Lyons ’17 to step into an expanded role as Director of Operations and Campaign Manager, working closely with Albert and me to continue to increase our division’s operational efficiency. Tristan Ferry ’17 and Stephen Schindler ’13 continue as Executive Assistant and Special Assistant, respectively. 

Throughout all these changes our commitment to advancing the mission and vision of Cedarville University through the engagement, involvement, and investment of Cedarville’s constituencies remain the same. 


For His Glory and our joy,

Rick Melson, Ph.D.

Vice President for Advancement


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Located in southwest Ohio, Cedarville University attracts 4,550 undergraduate, graduate, and online students to more than 100 areas of study. Founded in 1887 for the Word of God and the Testimony of Jesus Christ, Cedarville is recognized nationally for its authentic Christian community, rigorous academic programs, strong graduation and retention rates, accredited professional and health science offerings, and leading student satisfaction ratings.

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