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Wake Forest appoints Mark Petersen as vice president for university advancement


September 18, 2008

Wake Forest University President Nathan O. Hatch has appointed Mark Petersen as vice president for university advancement at Wake Forest.

Petersen will assume his new leadership role Nov. 1.

Petersen’s responsibilities will encompass University Relations, including development and alumni activities, as well as Public Affairs, including the News Service and Creative Services operations.

Currently, Petersen is associate vice president for development and alumni affairs at Southern Methodist University in Dallas.

“I am delighted that Mark will join the administrative team here at Wake Forest.  I am impressed by his clear thinking with regard to organizational structure and his proven ability to manage multiple tasks and priorities,” Hatch said.  “I have also been equally impressed by Mark’s deep understanding of and appreciation for both liberal arts education and professional education.”

Petersen joined SMU in 2005 as associate vice president.  In that position, he manages a 105-person staff focused on development services, planned and endowment giving, national major giving programs, alumni relations and annual giving, athletics development programs, and principal giving programs.  He leads all strategic planning, program management and personnel development for the Development and Alumni Affairs Division.  Petersen has been instrumental in planning “SMU Unbridled:  The Second Century Campaign,” a $750 million capital campaign that was launched this month. 

“From the first time I met with President Hatch, I was captivated by his vision for Wake Forest.  His concept of the collegiate university is a compelling niche within higher education,” Petersen said.  “It is a perfect fit for Wake Forest’s culture, which is distinguished by a profound commitment to the teacher-scholar ideal and close interaction between faculty and students.”

“I am honored to join such a talented leadership team and dedicated board of trustees in the worthy endeavor of making this vision a reality,” Petersen continued.  “My family and I look forward to being part of the Wake Forest community.”

Before joining SMU, Petersen held a number of leadership positions in the Development office at the University of Texas at Austin, where he worked from 1993 to 2005.  His positions there included assistant vice president, executive director of marketing and business development, director of corporate relations and business development, director of annual giving, and associate director of annual giving.  While he was an assistant vice president, the University of Texas at Austin carried out a $1.6 billion capital campaign.

Earlier, he worked with Laufer Associates Public Relations/Marketing Communications in Los Angeles, the City of Beverly Hills, and J. Walter Thompson Ltd. in London.

Petersen is a graduate of Brandeis University and received a Master of Arts degree from the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Southern California. 

Petersen and his wife, Louisa, have three sons.

Press Contacts:

Kevin Cox
(336) 758-5237


Cheryl Walker
(336) 758-5237


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