The Montana State University Alumni Foundation announced today that, Christopher D. Murray, vice president for University Advancement at the University of Idaho, has been named as the organization’s new president and CEO. Murray, who was selected following an extensive nationwide search, will begin his duties Tuesday, Sept. 2.
“I am excited to be joining a remarkable organization that is singularly committed to helping Montana State University achieve its land-grant mission of learning, discovery and community engagement,” Murray said. “The Montana State University Alumni Foundation plays a critical role in securing and managing the private resources that fuel MSU's ongoing success as an academic and research institution. I am honored to be part of an incredible team of talented and passionate staff and volunteers who care so deeply about MSU and its future.”
Murray comes to the MSU Alumni Foundation with more than 30 years of experience managing and leading fundraising efforts at nonprofits and universities, most recently as vice president for University Advancement at the University of Idaho, where he planned and managed the launch of the school’s $225 million capital campaign. Prior to working with the University of Idaho, Murray had served as associate dean of External Affairs at the University of Oregon and as director of development for the Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California.
“The members of the MSU Alumni Foundation’s boards are looking forward to working closely with Chris,” said Cory Pulfrey, chairman of the MSU Alumni Foundation’s Board of Governors. “We have great confidence that his extensive leadership and management experience in higher education will further elevate the strong levels of performance the team at the MSU Alumni Foundation has achieved to date.”
Murray accepts the role temporarily held by the MSU Alumni Foundation’s Chief Operations Officer Kitty Saylor, who had stepped in as interim president and CEO during the Alumni Foundation’s executive search. As president and CEO of the MSU Alumni Foundation, Murray will lead a team of more than 80 professionals working across the MSU Foundation, the MSU Alumni Association, and MSU’s Innovation Campus. Saylor will continue in her role as the organization’s Chief Operations Officer.
“Montana State University has a partner in Chris who will help connect MSU’s friends and alumni with the university’s most critical strategic priorities,” said Montana State University President Waded Cruzado. “I am looking forward to working with Chris to expand the productive relationship between the university and the Alumni Foundation, creating lasting benefits for our students, faculty, and academic and research programs in ways that help MSU better meet its land-grant mission in service to Montana, the nation and the world.”
Murray joins the MSU Alumni Foundation team at a moment when MSU is seeing a marked increase in the level of alumni engagement and private philanthropy, including Norm Asbjornson’s recent pledge of $50 million to the College of Engineering – the largest gift in the history of the university and the state of Montana.
“With more than $185 million in endowed assets under management and membership in the Alumni Association at its highest levels ever with more than 12,000 members, Chris joins a strong executive management team that has shepherded the organization through a period of incredible growth,” Saylor said. “Chris has the experience and the organizational support to effectively build on this momentum and position the MSU Alumni Foundation to deliver unprecedented levels of support to Montana State University. We are proud he has chosen to offer his talents to take the organization into the future.”
About the Montana State University Alumni Foundation: The Montana State University Alumni Foundation is an independent 501(c)(3) or private nonprofit corporation with three subsidiary entities that serve one mission: "We create lifelong relationships and strengthen our resources to advance Montana State University."The MSU Alumni Association is a membership body that keeps graduates and friends of our University connected to one another and to their Alma Mater. The MSU Foundation raises significant private financial support and serves as the steward for more than $185 million dollars in invested resources from many generous donors. And the MSU Innovation Campus offers powerful opportunities for partners to invest in a creative, entrepreneurial environment that offers state of the art facilities, supports start-up companies, and provides students with hands on learning experiences that can result in employment opportunities upon graduation.
Jason Smith, Chief Relations Officer: (406) 570-6066 firstname.lastname@example.org