TCF Staff Directory

The Citadel Foundation Staff


Jay Dowd — Chief Executive Officer
Frances Bramlett — Vice President, Director of Donor Relations
Gary Hassen — Vice President, Chief Development Officer
Shannon Mease — Chief Financial Officer

The dedication and expertise of The Citadel Foundation’s fundraising team contribute significantly to the success and the long-term sustainability of the college. The brief bios below illustrate a few of the unique qualifications and experiences that each staff member brings to the TCF team in the service of The Citadel.

 Jay Dowd Jay Dowd joined The Citadel Foundation as Chief Executive Officer in February 2013.  Jay has 20 years of experience in higher education fundraising, institutional advancement, and executive leadership. Prior to joining the Foundation team, he served as Francis Marion's vice president for development and as executive director at the Francis Marion University Education Foundation. As CEO of The Citadel Foundation and the college's chief advancement officer, Jay, in coordination with the president, Board of Visitors, and the TCF Board of Directors, is charged with developing and implementing a wide-reaching fundraising program for current and future funding needs of the college. In conjunction with the foundation staff, Jay works to ensure a coordinated approach to institutional advancement, supporting the college's strategic priorities.
Jessica Arant

Jessica Arant, Development Assistant, joined The Citadel Foundation in January 2014.  Prior to joining TCF, Jessica worked in various administrative and human resources roles for two defense contractors in Charlotte, North Carolina.  A native of Columbia, South Carolina, she attended the College of Charleston where she received a B.A. in History.  

 

Frances W. Bramlett, Vice President, Director of Donor Relations, joined The Citadel Foundation in September, 2008. A South Carolina native and a College of Charleston graduate, her professional life has been primarily in the hospitality industry, first in Birmingham, Alabama, then in Charleston, where she has lived since 1995. She was General Manager and Partner with Maverick Southern Kitchens at Slightly North of Broad, then Operating Partner with Palmetto Food Group dba Just Fresh. She is a member CASE, the College of Charleston Alumni Assn Board, and the Association of Donor Relations Professionals, and is a former mentor for the YWCA’s Working Opportunities for Women program. She has been a guest lecturer on “Outstanding Customer Service” at The Citadel School of Business Administration, at the undergraduate and graduate levels. She is married to Russell Wallace and the mother of two grown children. She has three first cousins and two nephews who are Citadel graduates.

Mike Capaccio

Mike Capaccio, Vice President, Athletic Developmentjoined the team in 2012 and is primarily responsible for securing major gifts for The Citadel's athletics programs. Previously, he worked in a similar capacity at Brunswick Community College in N.C., where he served as vice president for institutional advancement and CEO of the college’s foundation.

Elliott Cooper, Associate Director of Class Reunion Campaigns, joined The Citadel Foundation in April 2011. She will be working with several classes, visiting alumni, and helping to fund the top priorities of The Citadel campus. A native of Charleston, SC, Elliott attended Porter-Gaud and Wofford College. Elliott serves on the board for the Porter-Gaud Alumni Association, acts as secretary for the Association of Fundraising Professionals, volunteers for Historic Charleston Foundation, and is a member of Junior League.

 Jayde Culver

Jayde Culver, Assistant Director of Annual Giving, joined The Citadel Foundation in August 2013.  Jayde is the Director of the Cadet Call Center, where cadet callers reach out to members of The Citadel family, including alumni, widows, parents, and friends of the college.  Jayde also oversees the Barracks Program, which is the cadet philanthropy program to educate cadets on the importance of giving back.  Jayde received her B.A. in Psychology from Ohio Northern University in August 2013.

Libby Davis, Director of Prospect Management and Research, joined The Citadel Foundation in February 2009. A native of Virginia Beach, she attended Ithaca College in upstate New York, where she majored in marketing with a minor in music. Before moving to Charleston in September 2008, Libby lived in New York City, honing her research skills while working for the managing attorney at the law firm of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison.

Fierson, Russell

Russell Frierson, Citadel Class of 2004 serves as the Development Officer for Athletics, joined the team in April 2014.  A native of Easley, SC, he received both his undergraduate and graduate degrees from The Citadel.  His primary responsibilities are to identify potential benefactors to support the athletic program and execute strategic planning initiatives for the overall development for Citadel Athletics.

Bob Hamblin

Bob Hamblin, Assistant Comptroller, started at The Citadel Foundation in January 2014.  Previously, he worked in similar capacities at the Seabrook Island Property Owners' Association and Heritage Trust Federal Credit Union.  Bob is a retired U.S. Navy submarine officer and lives on Daniel Island with his wife, Paula.  They have two grown children, a daughter living in Charlotte, NC, and a son living in Charleston.

 

Kathleen Hancock, Executive Assistant to the Chief Executive Officer

Gary Hassen joined The Citadel Foundation in February 2012 as Vice President and Chief Development Officer.  He has 24 years of higher education fundraising experience and most recently served as Senior Development Officer/Director of Major Gifts at Furman University from 2006 – 2012.

Previously, he served as Director of Development for the University of South Carolina’s College of Hospitality, Retail, and Sport Management. While there, he also served in a number of other capacities including corporate relations and regional campaigns.  In addition to many years of fundraising experience, Gary brings extensive knowledge of the landscape of public and private higher education fundraising in South Carolina.

Gary is a 1979 graduate of USC with a B.S. in Business Administration and played football for the Gamecocks.

 Jennifer Hightower

Jennifer Hightower, Assistant Dean for the School of Engineering, joined The Citadel Foundation in July 2013.  Prior to joining TCF, Jennifer spent the past 7 years working for United States Senator Jim DeMint.  A native of Bamberg, South Carolina, Jennifer received a B.S. from Clemson University and an MBA from The Citadel.  She is also a 2013 graduate of Leadership Charleston.  She resides in Mount Pleasant with her husband, Russ.

Debbie Hvizdos joined The Citadel Foundation in October 2012 as Assistant to the Vice President, Chief Development Officer.  She is a graduate of Dyke College (Cleveland, OH) and brings with her a strong administrative and legal background.  She has held various management positions primarily focused on sales and finance, human resources, risk management, and executive-level corporate administration. She is also a graduate of the Dale Carnegie Leadership Training for Managers Program and the AMA Certification in Management Program.

Debbie is an active community member participating in numerous community and charitable events.

Laura F. Jordan, Director of Development, Krause Center for Leadership and Ethics, joined The Citadel Foundation in January 2010 as a Development Officer on the Annual Giving and Class Reunion Campaign teams. Prior to joining the Foundation, Laura was the Assistant Director of Annual Programs at Landon School in Bethesda, MD, where she was responsible for the creation and execution of materials and resources for community programs to achieve increased participation and giving. At TCF, Laura is responsible for raising awareness and philanthropic support for leadership initiatives within The Krause Center for Leadership and Ethics. A native of the Washington, D.C. area, Laura is a 2006 graduate of the University of Virginia with a B.A. in History.

Ryan Kasyan

Ryan Kasyan, Marketing Communications Manager, joined The Citadel Foundation in February 2011.  As Marketing Communications Manager, Ryan is responsible for developing creative pieces for the foundation, including print material and video solicitations.  He aids the Director of Communications in keeping the foundation's website up to date.  Prior to working at The Citadel Foundation, he did a year of service with the AmeriCorps VISTA program, marketing for Community First Fund, a nonprofit located in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.  Ryan is a 2009 graduate of Elizabethtown College.

Kelley, Julie

Julie Kelley, Development Assistant, joined The Citadel Foundation in February 2014. Prior to joining the Foundation, Julie was Associate Director of Alumni Communications  at Berkshire School in Sheffield, MA and Registrar at Indian Mountain School in Lakeville, CT.   A native of Colorado Springs, CO having grown up on and around the Air Force Academy, Julie is excited to be back in the military environment .

Lauri Lechner 

Lauri Lechner joined The Citadel Foundation as Stewardship Manager in August 2007. Her primary responsibility is to continue to build strong relationships between The Citadel and the donors who financially support the school’s mission. A Pennsylvania native, Lauri moved to Charleston after graduating from Clarion University with a degree in Secondary Education. Lauri brings to the TCF team more than 14 years of experience in the nonprofit world, most recently working in the development field with Historic Charleston Foundation.

Leigh Lipscomb

Leigh Batten Lipscomb, Director of Grants, joined the Foundation team in July of 2008. Her areas of responsibility include identifying, researching, and writing grants for all Citadel programs and projects.  Leigh brings a wealth of nonprofit fundraising experience to TCF, having previously served as a Development Assistant for the Historic Charleston Foundation and as Director of Development for the Children’s Museum of the Lowcountry. A Charleston native, Leigh lives in Mount Pleasant with her husband and two children.

Macnab, Elizabeth

Elizabeth Macnab, Class Reunion Campaign and Annual Giving Coordinator, joined The Citadel Foundation in April 2014. Elizabeth provides support for the CRC and Annual Giving departments and works with alumni who are celebrating milestone reunions by coordinating fundraising campaigns as the liaison between development officers, volunteers, and donors.  Elizabeth received her B.S. from Auburn University and worked in the Cary Center for the Advancement of Philanthropy and Nonprofit Studies which is part of the College of Human Sciences. Prior to TCF, she worked for the Baptist Health Foundation in Birmingham, Alabama. 

Blythe Manuel

Blythe Manuel, Gift Processing Coordinator, is a 2004 Towson University graduate with a degree in International Studies. She moved to Charleston in October 2006 to join The Citadel Foundation after working for two years in a similar capacity at the United States Naval Academy Foundation/Alumni Association in Annapolis, Maryland.

Shannon Mease

Shannon Mease, Chief Financial Officer

Krystal Oliveira, Assistant Dean for Development for the school of education, joined the Foundation staff in March of 2010.  She grew up in the upstate in a little town called Travelers Rest and attended Clemson University, receiving a BS in Sociology with a minor in Nonprofit Leadership. Her primary role is to work with alumni of The Citadel, matching the schools needs with the interest of alumni.  Prior to her work at the Foundation she spent five years working with The Boys and Girls Club.  She held the position of Program Director, Teen Director, and as a Resource Development Director here in the lowcountry.


Rhonda Paul

Rhonda Paul, Data Entry Specialist, Donor Relations Administrator, has been with the Foundation since 1998.  She started in development as Assistant to the Director of Planned Giving, but moved to Donor Relations in November of 2013.  Rhonda is a native of Charleston but, grew up out west in Phoenix, Arizona.  However, she missed the coast and moved back to Charleston in 1990.  Rhonda is a graduate of Southern Wesleyan University with a degree in Business Management.    

 

 

Ashley Pennington, Special Events Coordinator, joined the Citadel in March 2012.  Prior to working at TCF, she worked for Defender Services, Inc., at its corporate office in Columbia , S.C. A South Carolina native, Ashley graduated from the University of South Carolina in 2011 with a bachelor’s degree in Clinical Psychology.

 

Josephine Rex

Josephine Rex, Class Reunion Campaign Developlent Officer, joined The Citadel Foundation in March 2014.  She works with alumni to coordinate and execute successful Class Reunion Campaigns while helping to fund the top priorities of The Citadel.  A native of Columbus, Ohio, Josephine attended The College of Charleston earning degrees in Political Science and Psychology.  She completed two years of service through the AmeriCorps VISTA program, working in a local elementary school, and prior to joining TCF's team she worked for Sea Island Habitat for Humanity. 

Kim D. Rich, Database Administrator, joined The Citadel Foundation staff in September 2010. A native of Tennessee, she has an affinity for military education, having attended Castle Heights Military Academy in Lebanon, TN. Kim went on to earn a Bachelor of Science degree at Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro and spent several years in not-for-profit work in Tennessee and South Carolina working in development, database management, events, and call center management. Having previously served as Development Services Manager at the South Carolina Aquarium, Kim assisted in the creation of the Sea Turtle Rescue Program there. Prior to coming to The Citadel Foundation, she served as a consultant to Arts and Cultural clients and then as a cultural solutions manager at Blackbaud

 

Ashley Santos Serves as Senior Principal Gifts Officer/Campaign Manager. Prior to joining The Citadel Foundation’s team, she was an executive director for the Chicago division of CCS, an international fundraising firm headquartered in NYC. As a consultant for CCS, Ashley served a broad range of development planning needs for nonprofit clients throughout the country. Ashley provided leadership for major gift, annual, planned, grateful patient, corporate and foundation, and special events fundraising for healthcare, religious, and higher education constituents.  Ashley earned her B.S. from the University of Alabama, her J.D. from Samford University's Cumberland School of Law, and is licensed to practice law in Alabama, Tennessee and the federal courts.  She is married to David, a native of Charleston and attorney practicing in commercial real estate and probate matters, and they have one daughter, Vivian.


Jarret Sonta, Director of Communications, joined the TCF team in September 2003. Before crossing the threshold of Lesesne Gate, the New Jersey native cut his teeth in the field of nonprofit development communications with several Charleston arts and cultural organizations, most notably Spoleto Festival USA. Lured to the South under the spell of Faulkner's fiction, Jarret studied English literature at Yale University as an undergrad, returning for a Master's in the field before attempting to make his way in the real world. In addition to his full-time duties at the Foundation, Jarret works evenings as a writing tutor in The Citadel's Academic Support Center and serves as staff advisor for El Cid Toastdawgs, the cadet Toastmasters club. Formerly a leadership program integrator for Papa Company, he is currently proud to serve as the academic advisor for Mike Company.

Rob Stephenson

Rob Stephenson, Director of Major Gifts and Assistant Dean for the School of Business Administration, joined The Citadel Foundation in January of 2008. He previously held the roles of Director of Annual Giving and Assistant Director of Annual Giving for TCF. A South Carolina native and graduate of Clemson University, Rob gained valuable fundraising experience at his alma mater, where he spent four years with the university’s athletic fundraising organization as the Assistant Executive Director of the IPTAY Scholarship Fund. With TCF, Rob oversees the major gift team and works closely with the Dean of the School of Business Administration to secure financial support for the strategic initiatives of the school. In his spare time, Rob enjoys playing golf, reading, spending time with family and friends, and is an avid sports fan. He is married to Erin Cooke Stephenson, and they have one daughter, McRae.

Lori Tuttle, Director of Development for Annual and Reunion Giving, joined the Foundation staff in March 2009. She previously held the role of Assistant Director of Annual Giving at TCF.  As Director of Annual and Reunion Giving, Lori oversees the Faculty & Staff Campaign, direct mail appeals, annual giving class chairman volunteers, and the Class Reunion Campaign program. Prior to TCF, she was the Director of Operations and Capital Campaign Assistant at Custom Development Solutions, Inc., a capital campaign consulting firm. Lori served on the board on the Association of Fundraising Professionals Lowcountry Chapter as Membership Chair from 2007-2009 and as the Every Member Campaign Chair in 2010.  A Savannah native, a graduate of Mercer University with a degree in Sociology, and earned her Master's degree in Public Administration from the College of Charleston.

Lisa Ukuku, Director of Research, joined The Citadel Foundation in October 2011. A native of Beaufort, SC, she attended Voorhees College and earned a B.S. in Organizational Management and later attended Webster University, earning a M.A. in Computer Resources/Information Management. Before joining The Citadel, she worked as Research Coordinator at the College of Charleston for seven years and previously worked in development at both Trident Technical College and Clemson University.

 vereen, veronica

Veronica Vereen, Development Officer, Reunion and Annual Giving, joined The Citadel Foundation in June of 2012. At The Citadel Foundation Veronica is responsible for visiting alumni to educate them on the top priorities of The Citadel.  Veronica is a native of Charleston, SC, having graduated from St. Andrews Parish High School.  She received a BS in 2004 from Winthrop University and an MBA in May 2012 from Charleston Southern University.   Veronica brings to the college more than seven years of fundraising experience in the nonprofit sector.   

 

amanda weingarten

Amanda Weingarten, Assistant Dean of Development, joined The Citadel in October 2012. As Assistant Dean for Development of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, she works closely with the dean, faculty and advisory board to build and grow academic programs in Security Studies, History, English, Political Science, Fine Arts, Modern Languages, Criminal Justice, and Psychology. Amanda has over a decade’s experience in development for colleges and universities, K-12, and the performing arts. Raised by American parents in London, England, she speaks a few languages and has a B.A. in Art History from the University of Pennsylvania. 

William Yaeger, '83

William L. Yaeger, Citadel Class of 1983, serves as the Assistant VP for Principal & Planned Gifts.  An Alpha Company graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, Bill brings extensive military and business experience to the Foundation, including the U. S. Navy, a financial advisor, and project management. He is a member of CASE, Association of Fundraising Professionals, and Partnership for Philanthropic Planning (PPP). Bill lives in Mount Pleasant with his wife, Linda Gibbons Yaeger; their son Jordan and daughter Megan. An active volunteer with his college, church, and community, Bill is Co-Class Chairman, coordinates the Charleston Area Citadel Alumni Breakfasts, is a Life Member of The Citadel Alumni Association, and serves as a Certified Lay Speaker with the United Methodist Church.  He has also served on the Boards of The Charleston Miracle League and the Boys & Girls Clubs.
 Darlene Zimmerman Darlene Zimmerman, a native of Jamestown, NY, joined the Foundation in 1980 as the secretary to the Director of the Annual Fund.  After a year, she moved to the position of Executive Assistant/Office Manager.  She held this position until 2012 when she moved into the position of Assistant Director of Business Operations.

 

 
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