Ferris State University President David Eisler today announced the appointment of Shelly Armstrong as vice president for University Advancement and Marketing, effective immediately.
Armstrong has been serving as interim vice president since 2012, in addition to retaining her role as associate vice president for Marketing and Communications. Armstrong previously served as interim vice president from 2008-09.
In making the announcement, Eisler said, “In her work as vice president, Shelly Armstrong has effectively moved forward Ferris State University’s branding and marketing efforts. Her leadership with fundraising is credited with significantly increasing donor support for the university. Shelly is a highly respected, experienced and skillful administrator with intimate knowledge of Ferris. She is committed and passionate about our mission, vision and core values and has done a remarkable job in providing stability and consistency for the division. I very much look forward to working with her.”
“I am incredibly excited to play a major role in positioning Ferris for growth through highly effective fundraising, marketing and communications, and alumni relations,” Armstrong said. “I look forward to continuing to build on the excellent work being accomplished throughout the division and the university and to partner with our donors, alumni, volunteers, academic and administrative leadership, and dedicated faculty and staff to advance Ferris,” Armstrong said. “It is an exciting time for Ferris as we embrace a new strategic plan for the university and the perfect opportunity to take Ferris to the next level of fundraising, alumni engagement and marketing success.”
Armstrong will lead a staff of more than 30, which includes Advancement and its functions of annual giving, advancement services, athletics giving, corporate and foundation relations, major giving, planned giving, research and prospect management, special and leadership gifts, and stewardship and donor relations; Alumni Relations; and Marketing and Communications and its units of marketing client services, news services/social media, photographic services/multi-media, and Web services. Armstrong also will work closely with The Ferris Foundation and the Alumni Association Boards and their executive directors and volunteers to expand and strengthen volunteer engagement and advance key fundraising initiatives.
Under Armstrong’s interim leadership, she led a significant reorganization of the Advancement operation that included centralizing college-based advancement officers and creating stand-alone annual giving and stewardship and donor relations units; developing policies and procedures for prioritizing fundraising initiatives and improving the coordination of fundraising across the university; reinstituting a donor recognition program; establishing an on-campus student call center for annual giving; and directing an award-winning marketing brand campaign for the university.
Armstrong noted, “Our ability to secure more scholarship support for our students, in particular, is more critical than ever for us to continue to attract, retain and graduate our students, who are leaving Ferris with significant debt. It is an ideal time for the university community to become united and work ambitiously toward generating greater resources and opportunities for our students and academic programs,” Armstrong said.
Armstrong came to Ferris in 2002 as associate vice president for University Advancement and Marketing and has more than 25 years of experience in higher education. She holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Eastern Illinois University in journalism/public relations and college student personnel, respectively. She most recently completed a comprehensive leadership development program through the Center for Creative Leadership.
Armstrong is engaged to Wes Pearcy, formerly of Muskegon, and lives in Rockford.