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New USF official will head up fundraising

By STEPHEN HEGARTY

© St. Petersburg Times, published February 15, 2001


TAMPA -- The University of South Florida has hired a new vice president to bring in money and get out the word on the university.

Michael D. Rierson agreed this week to take the job as vice president for university advancement and executive vice president of the USF Foundation. He will be in charge of alumni development, public affairs and public broadcasting at the university.

"USF is everything I wanted in a university," Rierson said Wednesday. USF President Judy Genshaft, who was hired last year at least in part because of her own fundraising acumen, offered the job to Rierson about two weeks ago. She has hired a man with an impressive background as a rainmaker for higher education.

Rierson, 48, served as vice president for university advancement at the University of Miami since 1998, where he was in charge of fundraising and university relations. Before that he worked in fundraising at the University of North Carolina and at Duke University.

Rierson's annual salary of $230,000 is close to that of his new boss; Genshaft makes $232,000 a year. Much of his salary, $180,000, will come from the state. That will be supplemented with $50,000 from the USF Foundation.

He comes to USF at a time when fundraising has been setting records. Last year, USF surpassed its $220-million fundraising goal a year early. Rierson said he made it clear during his interviews that he did not want to come to USF just to raise money. "I told them 'If you want someone to just raise more and more money to join some club, I'm not your guy,' " Rierson said. "The goal is to raise the right money, to have an impact, to improve research and teaching and the public service mission. That's what I'm interested in."

He is scheduled to start in April.

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