John Morris

With the spring semester in full swing, Auburn University is ready to introduce a new face to lead its push toward improving alumni engagement, fundraising, marketing and communications.

John Morris will be joining the Auburn family as its first senior vice president of advancement on March 8, overseeing approximately 200 employees as the University moves toward merging its current offices of Alumni Affairs, Development and Communications and Marketing. Morris previously served as the Kansas State University Foundation’s senior vice president for development since 2016.

During his time at KSU, fundraising commitments to the KSU foundation grew by more than 60 percent and its recent development campaign surpassed its $1.4 billion goal ahead of schedule by $200 million under Morris’ leadership. Simultaneously, the number of annual $1 million gifts grew from 21 to more than 40, increasing total funding by more than 40 percent. 

In his new role with Auburn, Morris will work directly with President Jay Gouge as a member of his cabinet. In a statement released by the University, Gouge stated that the merged entity creates an integrated, efficient team that promotes a shared, strategically focused vision of Auburn. 

“Moving to the advancement model is a major step forward for Auburn,” Gogue said in a news release from the University. “John is a seasoned advancement professional whose ability to create and execute strategic alignment among diverse teams has realized tremendous success at the institutions he has served. The combination of his experience, passion and entrepreneurial spirit will generate tangible results crucial for Auburn’s future.” 

The advancement model is designed to improve how universities build and foster relationships with individuals who are external to the institution. 

“The new structure will align with Auburn’s alumni, development, communication and marketing functions,” said the news release. “This new group will be focused on fulfilling Auburn’s vision to lead and shape the future for higher education.”

In a statement from the University, Morris stated that he and his wife, Kerry, and their four children, Molly, 7, Layla, 5, Hadley, 3, and John “Cal”, 1, are more than excited to make the move from the Midwest to the Loveliest Village on the Plains. 

“Auburn is one of the few universities in the world with a soul,” Morris said. “It’s so much more than a place where students go to learn.

“Auburn is a passion and a lifelong commitment, and its values are our values. I’m humbled and grateful to help Auburn harness its position of strength, proliferate the Auburn brand and verbalize the Auburn Creed.”

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