Purdue University’s chief fund-raiser is leaving West Lafayette to take control of the 2-year-old Kansas City Foundation for Higher Education, raising money for the University of Missouri-Kansas City.
Murray Blackwelder’s departure comes about 18 months after he wrapped up the seven-year Campaign for Purdue, which raised $1.7 billion for the university.
“The legacy of his energetic and creative leadership is visible across our campus,” Purdue President France Cordova said in a statement. “I thank him for his outstanding service to Purdue and wish him much continued success at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.”
He officially reports for duty July 15, but Blackwelder will work as a consultant in the meantime, finalizing an affiliation agreement between the foundation and the university. Under the agreement, the foundation will take over all of the school’s fund-raising responsibilities and change its name to the UMKC Foundation.
Blackwelder joined Purdue in 2001 after 11 years at Iowa State University, where he worked with former Purdue President Martin Jischke. He was the Indiana school’s first senior vice president for advancement, overseeing fund raising, communications and marketing.
Before moving to Iowa, Blackwelder held fund-raising management positions at Wichita State University in Kansas and Rockhurst College in Kansas City, Mo., making the new job a homecoming of sorts. He is a native of Augusta, Kan.
He will be the first executive director of the Kansas City foundation, which was created almost three years ago. Foundation Chairman Alan Atterbury said officials have been trying to lure Blackwelder for two years.
“This is a major step for the foundation,” Atterbury said in a statement. “Someone of Murray’s expertise and enthusiasm for raising funds … exactly what we need for UMKC.”