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UCM names new leader for the Foundation

Courtney Goddard and Houston Astros infielder and MLB All Star Alex Bregman pose for a photo at the 2019 First Pitch Banquet in the Elliott Student Union Ballroom. Photo courtesy of Courtney Goddard

The university chose one of its own to lead the UCM Alumni Foundation.

Courtney Goddard was named vice president for advancement and external engagement, executive director of the Foundation.

Her appointment is effective March 1.

She previously served as associate vice president of advancement and director of Advancement Services at UCM.

Before coming to UCM, Goddard worked as the vice president and general counsel at Park University for 11 years.

“I’m a lawyer by training and profession,” Goddard said. “I was inside the practice at a large law firm in Kansas City and represented lots of colleges and universities at one point. In fact, UCM was one of them.”

She said after she left Park University in June, she started at UCM in July 2018.

“This kind of came to be because my law firm used to represent UCM and did a lot of work for Dr. Ambrose,” she said of UCM’s previous president. “And he contacted me in the spring of 2018 and just said that he thought I would be a good person to head up the Foundation at UCM.”

Goddard said she is prepared for this transition because she has been fundraising throughout her career and has engaged in philanthropy in Kansas City, Missouri.

“I chaired the Kemper Museum Gala, several events for the Hope House domestic violence shelter, several events for the Kansas City Repertory Theatre and St. Paul’s Episcopal Day School,” she said. “I sit on the St. Paul’s School Board and The Kansas City Rep Board. I have been a part of raising hundreds of thousands of dollars for these organizations and believe strongly in philanthropic giving.”

She said as vice president of external engagement, she will be connecting with companies and people from all over.

“Basically, that just means I will be doing everything I can to get UCM’s brand and their story in front of external people,” she said.

She said there are a variety of ways to engage externally.

“That really entails everything from being involved with Kansas City Chamber of Commerce, to sitting on different boards in Kansas City, to doing everything I can to get partnerships between UCM and different companies, businesses, look for opportunities to get more external parties on our campus,” she said. “I’ve been looking for a lot of ways to bring people through the Lee’s Summit campus.”

President Roger Best said the person in this role is the university’s chief fundraiser.

“We’ve added the external engagement to that because, particularly with Courtney, the connections she’s developed over her career in Kansas City are connections we want to ensure we have with the university as a whole,” he said. “So, we expect her to also facilitate engagement with civic organizations, (and) corporate partners. That’s the external engagement.”

Best said Goddard was the right person for this job for many reasons.

“I was able to see her ability to engage and interact with the external constituencies,” he said. “I recognized she was very well respected in the Kansas City area and that her approach to helping the university make connections was the exact bridge we needed as an institution.”

Bill Estes, interim vice president for university advancement, said he has been working with Goddard for eight months.

“She is energetic, very knowledgeable,” he said. “She understands university administration. She meets people well. She understands the value of reaching out to alumni and raising funds.”

Estes said her background will help her with this position since she has made good connections.

“She has a lot of experience, different kinds of experience with fundraising,” he said. “She’s very well connected in Kansas City, and I think that will be beneficial to UCM in the long run.”

He said one plan for Goddard will be to create a new culture of philanthropy at UCM.

“People will come to see the value of this university,” he said. “We’ll see a lot more alumni giving and we’ll see a lot more large gifts.”

Goddard said she has big plans for her future in higher education.

“Someday I’d love to be a university president to have an even greater ability to transform the lives of students,” Goddard said.

Best said Goddard would make a good university president.

“She brings a very strong commitment to student success and higher education in general and that’s first and foremost necessary to make a good university president,” he said. “Any number of people can be university president, but at the end of the day we serve students.”

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