Huntsville, Ala. — The Division of Advancement and Development (A&D) at Oakwood University (OU) has gained a number of important new faces in the past several weeks. OU administrators have made these additions in response to their newly adopted strategic plan in an effort to move Oakwood to the next level of marketing, public relations and development.
Dr. Leslie Pollard, President of Oakwood University, says, “It is important to match talent to the tasks demanded by Oakwood’s new direction. Consistent with the strategic plan, Oakwood welcomes the energy and freshness brought by our newest personnel. Special thanks to those who have helped carry the baton to where we now stand.”
George Johnson, Jr., former communication director of the North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists, joined the Advancement office as its new Director of Integrated Marketing and Public Relations on January 1. With a bachelor’s degree in communication and a graduate certificate in strategic public relations and integrated communications, Johnson has more than 16 years of experience in the communication field with extensive work in media relations, writing, editing and public relations.
Johnson will be responsible for the development and management of comprehensive integrated marketing communications campaigns. He will manage all components of campaign development, implementation and measurement, and will to make sure that all communications efforts – from PR, to marketing, to visual, to social media – are working together in harmony for the advancement of Oakwood University.
Joining the team as the assistant director of marketing is Oakwood alumna Denica King. She is responsible for managing university marketing initiatives, including but not limited to print publications, radio and television, Internet, mobile and out of home advertising. King joined the Advancement team in late October 2013 and has already spearheaded such marketing campaigns as LEAP billboards, USA Today Magazine advertisements and the OU Times Square marquee advertisement.
Cheri Wilson, a familiar face to A&D, is returning to the Development department after having led the University’s Department of Adult and Continuing Education. The University is excited to have Wilson return to Development to assist in major gift fundraising as well as supervision of development staff and special initiatives. Wilson brings her experience in fundraising as well as training from her earned certificate in fundraising management from The Lilly Family School of Philanthropy.
“Oakwood is especially blessed to have these individuals join the team in A&D,” says Kisha Norris, CFRE, Executive Director of Advancement and Development. “We are working on several new and exciting initiatives and the addition of these talented professionals will propel us into a productive and bright future.”
Tim Allston, who has served as the public relations director for the past two years, is now serving as a marketing representative with the LEAP and MAPS programs. "We appreciated Tim's ability to put OU in the forefront of public media and know that the LEAP and MAPS programs will greatly benefit from his communication skills," said Norris. Dean Hyacinth Burton will serve as interim director for the LEAP program. “Dean Burton is perfectly poised to synchronize LEAP with the new Oakwood Online University initiatives that the institution has launched. Together, Dean Burton and Mr. Allston will drive the expansion of the LEAP program's growth," said President Pollard. "Our recent AAA visit (Adventist Accrediting Association) urged us to maximize the potential of the MAPS program. Dr. Trevor Fraser and Mr. Allston together will push enrollment into this graduate program. Oakwood is in growth mode, and these leaders will do stellar work," said the President.