June 13, 2016

Ara Serjoie Named Vice President for Advancement


Ara Serjoie, who has held fundraising leadership positions at five higher education institutions over 20 years, has been appointed vice president for advancement at Guilford College. He will begin work at Guilford in mid-August.

“Ara is a dynamic leader with a compelling track record of success,” President Jane K. Fernandes said. “Guilford’s seven Core Values resonated deeply with him and inspired his interest in serving as our vice president of advancement. His insightful leadership will help us raise our profile and further strengthen our culture of engagement and philanthropy. He is a great fit for Guilford College.”

His most recent administrative role was as vice president of university advancement at California State University East Bay and concurrently as president of the Cal State East Bay Educational Foundation. He created a robust and multi-faceted five-year plan for the Division of University Advancement, launched the first comprehensive annual fund program, and revitalized a stalled $40 million campaign.

“Guilford College has a sterling reputation and is destined to reach new heights with the leadership and vision provided by President Fernandes,” Ara said. “I am thrilled to join the Guilford College family and Greensboro community.

“It is going to be very exciting and rewarding to work with my colleagues, alumni, students, board leadership, and benefactors of the College to increase philanthropic investments in our outstanding students, faculty, and programs; and elevate Guilford’s profile regionally and nationally.”

In seven years as senior vice president of development for the Clark College Foundation in Vancouver, Washington, Ara enhanced the fundraising department through a reorganization that received national recognition from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education. He led the institution’s first comprehensive campaign, which generated about $27 million in support of facilities, programs and scholarships.

His other professional roles have included serving as the director of development and alumnae relations for the Girl Scouts of Utah, director of organizational advancement for the Utah Diabetes Center at the University of Utah and development director for the College of Applied Science and Technology at Weber State University, where he was part of a team that raised over $90 million.

Ara has served as a member of the board of directors for the Girl Scouts of Oregon and Southwest Washington, a member of the Vancouver Symphony and Opera Friends Board, a member of the board of directors for the Pride Center of Utah, and a gubernatorial appointment to the Martin Luther King Jr. Human Rights Commission in Utah.

Currently, he is a member of the faculty for the College of Professional Studies at Creighton University, having conceptualized and created the nonprofit leadership track, which is one of the three areas of specialization for the integrated leadership studies degree program at Creighton.

A native of Iran, Ara lived in Tehran, West Berlin and London before immigrating to the United States to pursue post-secondary education. He earned a bachelor’s degree in liberal arts and studies from Utah State University and a master’s in public administration from the University of Utah with an emphasis in nonprofit leadership. He is a Ph.D. candidate in higher education leadership at Colorado State University. He holds the CFRE (certified fundraising executive) designation.

Ara succeeds Mike Poston, who retired in February after serving as vice president for advancement for 11 years.