With Dave “Boo” Ferriss serving as its director, the Delta State University Foundation was established in 1967 as a private non-profit organization dedicated to the growth, development, and enhancement of Delta State University, with special emphasis on academic quality, through the solicitation, management, and prudent disbursement of funds and other gifts derived from private sources.
The purpose of the Foundation is to function as a service organization to the academic and student development communities by broadening the university’s base of financial support through the coordination and centralization of major fund raising and gift solicitation activities.
On July 1, 1987, the administrative staff of the Delta State University Alumni Association and the DSU Foundation were combined under the leadership of Director Hugh Ellis Walker, who previously served as Alumni Secretary. An administrative structure was designed to facilitate the daily operations of both organizations. Upon the retirement of Hugh Ellis Walker, Dr. Don A. Skelton was named to the position of Executive Director, effective July 1, 1993. After the departure of Skelton in 2003, D. Keith Fulcher was appointed Executive Director. In 2018 the role of Special Assistant to the President for Donor Relations was created for Keith. With this move, Rick Munroe was appointed the Vice President of University Advancement and External Relations. This new role combines the duties of the Executive Director of the Alumni Foundation with overseeing Communications and Marketing, which includes the Post Office and Copy Center, and operates as the Government Liaison for the University.
Of increasing importance is the Foundation’s responsibility for administrative oversight of contributions received on behalf of the university from private citizens, companies, corporations, and foundations. All monies and gifts-in-kind received into the Foundation are routed through the chief development officer (“Executive Director”) for proper recording and acknowledgment. Funds are invested according to policies recommended by the Foundation Investment Committee, established by the Board of Directors, and disbursed according to donor specifications, provided that there is no conflict with existing tax law and Foundation policy.
The Foundation has grown steadily in assets and in the level and range of support provided to Delta State’s academic and student development programs. To date, enrichment activities provided through the Foundation Development Program have touched many areas of university life, including faculty and staff, student recruitment, student scholarships, and public relations.
Today, a 40-member board of directors, an elected group of business and professional leaders, provide policy and budgetary leadership for the Foundation. This group meets a minimum of two times a year.