Greg Willems has been named president and chief executive officer of the KSU Foundation, Manhattan, effective Friday, February 27.
“We are pleased to welcome Greg Willems to the K-State family,” said retired Gen. Richard Myers, Arlington, Virginia, chairman of the KSU Foundation Board of Directors. “Greg comes to us with extensive development and management experience, having successfully led several major research universities through comprehensive capital campaigns. He truly has the experience and passion worthy of leading the KSU Foundation into the future.”
Willems has held executive fundraising positions at the University of Hawai’i, University of British Columbia and Texas A&M. Prior to his development work, he worked in the corporate sector in the construction, finance and insurance industries.
Most recently, Willems served as vice president of development for the University of Hawaiʻi Foundation, overseeing fundraising, campaigns and development operations. In that role he led them to record-breaking annual fundraising results and directed the planning and implementation for the next comprehensive, system-wide capital campaign for the University of Hawaii System. Prior to his position at the University of Hawaiʻi Foundation, Willems was the executive director of development at the University of British Columbia, where he served on the executive leadership team and helped launch a $1.5 billion campaign, the largest in Canadian history at the time. He also served as the senior director of development for the Texas A&M Foundation, where he provided leadership in the university’s successful $1.5 billion “One Spirit One Vision” campaign.
“Kansas State University and the KSU Foundation are both remarkable institutions, and I have been impressed by the commitment of the leadership, staff and volunteers,” Willems said. “Everyone in the KSU family has projected a sense of pride and optimism about the future of K-State. I look forward to leading the outstanding team of fundraising professionals at the KSU Foundation as we work together to advance philanthropy at Kansas State University.”
Willems earned a bachelor’s degree in management from Texas A&M University in 1988. He was named three times to Hawaii Business Magazine’s “Executives You Need To Know” list and served on the board of the Engineering Development Forum.
“I am pleased that Greg Willems will be joining the KSU Foundation and Kansas State University,” said K-State President Kirk Schulz. “Greg brings with him a great deal of experience in university fundraising, and he joins a successful team of development professionals who work to inspire our alumni, friends, foundation and industry partners and advance our goal of becoming a top 50 research university by the year 2025. I am confident the KSU Foundation will continue to thrive under his leadership.”
Willems succeeds Fred Cholick, who served as president and CEO of the foundation since February 2010. During Cholick’s tenure, total philanthropic giving rose from $99.5 million in fiscal year 2011 to $211 million in fiscal year 2014. Cholick announced his plans to retire in July 2014.