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New Development Officers Join UM

Four new University of Mississippi development officers offer distinctly qualified backgrounds and share a passion for securing private gifts to support academics.

Suzette Matthews, Katie Morrison, Matthew “Porch” Porchivina III and Maura Wakefield have joined the Office of University Development and are tasked with a common goal: generating resources that will benefit and enrich the academic environment at Ole Miss.

“We are proud to officially welcome these outstanding individuals to our team,” said Debbie Vaughn, senior executive director and chief development officer. “As they focus on increasing private support, we are anticipating great achievements for their respective schools and other assignments.”

Suzette Matthews. Photo by Kevin Bain/Ole Miss Communications
Suzette Matthews. Photo by Kevin Bain/Ole Miss Communications

A native of the Delta town of Cleveland, Matthews earned her bachelor’s degree from Texas Tech University and a master’s degree in education from Delta State University. She serves as development officer for the UM School of Law.

Before joining Ole Miss, Matthews worked as a high school teacher and employee of Teach for America for five years. While teaching at Ruleville Central High School, she was named Sunflower County District Teacher of the Year for 2009-2010. Beginning as a Teach for America Corps member, she quickly rose to senior director of development for its Mississippi chapter.

“I served as a spokesperson to raise the visibility for Teach for America, cultivated donor relationships, secured major gifts, and planned and executed fundraising events,” Matthews said.

After increasing gifts for the organization by 150 percent, she was asked to join the Mississippi Economic Council Board of Governors as one of only a few representatives from the nonprofit sector.

As a graduate of Leadership Mississippi and the Delta Leadership Network, her qualifications granted her many more opportunities, such as serving on the Mississippi Center for Nonprofits board, the Cleveland Chamber of Commerce executive board and the Delta Business Journal‘s Delta Advocate Program. She also founded and served as president of the Cleveland-Bolivar County Young Professionals and is a member of the Mississippi Association of Fundraising Professionals.

Before her five-year tenure with Teach for America, she launched Delta Dairy, a frozen treats shop in downtown Cleveland, which she continues to manage with her husband, Matty Bengloss.

“My goals for the current academic year and next year are to double the number of alumni who are giving to the law school and to raise additional scholarship support for our students,” Matthews said.

Morrison-200x300Morrison, recently named director of development for corporate and foundation relations, has worked on the Office of Development/University Foundation team for more than two years. Before accepting her new position, she was communications specialist for the organization.

“Katie has produced outstanding work, publicizing important gifts to help strengthen communications to various stakeholders through the foundation website, newsletters and annual reports,” Vaughn said. “She brings a wealth of experience to her new position with University Development, where she will direct efforts to increase private giving from corporations and foundations.”

Morrison’s work experience includes serving as communications specialist for Blueprint Mississippi, first-year writing administrative coordinator for the UM Center for Writing and Rhetoric, assistant director of Mississippi Geographic Alliance, program coordinator for the Croft Institute for International Studies, a manager/buyer at Square Books and executive assistant to former Mayor Richard Howorth.

In 2001, she earned a bachelor’s degree in Engligh with a minor in Southern studies from UM. She continued her education at the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service, where she earned a master’s degree, completed an internship with the Clinton Foundation’s Global Initiative in New York and examined public-private partnerships for her capstone and thesis.

Morrison serves on the Oxford Tourism Council, Rebel Well Community Advisory Board and the Good Food for Oxford Schools Advisory Committee. Previously, she was director of the Oxford City Market, a local farmers’ market, and a member of the city of Oxford’s Presidential Debate Steering Committee. She and her husband, Cody, have two children, Abby and Coulter, and are members of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church.

“I am intent upon increasing our corporate and philanthropic partnerships to create long-term, mutually beneficial relationships,” Morrison said. “The University of Mississippi leads the state and the nation in many areas of research and education. I’ll be identifying organizations who share our goals, and together, we can find solutions and create new opportunities.”

Matthew Porchivina III. Photo by Thomas Graning/Ole Miss Communications
Matthew Porchivina III. Photo by Thomas Graning/Ole Miss Communications

Porchivina joined the Office of University Development staff as a graduate intern after earning a bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism in May 2015. He was recently promoted to development officer for the School of Applied Sciences, a position that will encourage private gifts designated for student scholarships, faculty research and general operating expenses.

As an intern, Porchivina managed the development office’s Facebook page, the Ole Miss Fund, which experienced an 11.9 percent increase in followers in his first four months. He also assisted with other social media campaigns, marketing videos and campus tours for donors. He also served as a project coordinator for Ignite Ole Miss, a crowd-funding platform.

“My greatest passion is to help others give back to a university that they love dearly and are excited to support,” Porchivina said. “I particularly like to match each person’s passions and interests with specific needs on campus. Also, seeing Ole Miss alumni and friends honor loved ones or help with student scholarships is extremely rewarding.”

Porchivina was active on campus as an undergraduate, serving as an Ole Miss Ambassador, Cardinal Club member, Ole Miss Inter-fraternity Council member, Rho Alpha recruitment adviser and member of Phi Delta Theta.

He hopes to use his networking skills to increase donor participation in university initiatives, particularly School of Applied Sciences programs.

“I will strive to maximize financial gift support to the school by seeking private contributions that will help increase the margin of excellence in educational and research programs,” he said. “I am fully committed to providing exceptional fundraising services, giving counsel to donors and prospective donors, and helping the leadership of the School of Applied Sciences.”

Maura Wakefield. Photo by Thomas Graning/Ole Miss Communications
Maura Wakefield. Photo by Thomas Graning/Ole Miss Communications

Wakefield, who received a bachelor’s degree in exercise science from Ole Miss in 2014 and an MBA in 2015, is the new assistant director of annual giving. Her role includes overseeing telephone solicitations and meeting with donors across all schools and academic initiatives to encourage annual giving.

“I am proud of the constant strides our university makes toward better living our creed,” Wakefield said, referring to a statement in the UM Creed. “I believe in good stewardship of our resources. We are so grateful to have such incredible donors who are deeply committed to Ole Miss, and we work to ensure every gift is directed as the donor wishes.

“You only have to look around our vibrant, progressive campus or meet our talented students to see the impact of private resources.”

Joining the Office of University Development as a graduate intern in 2014, Wakefield worked three jobs, totaling 47 hours a week, while she maintained a 3.9 grade-point average.

Previously, Wakefield was a season ticket sales associate for the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics and a public relations and marketing associate for the UM Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. As a five- year fundraising representative and student supervising manager for the development office’s call center, she managed a team of 40 callers and oversaw $2.17 million in pledged gifts to the university.

She also was active during her college career, serving as MBA senator for the Graduate Student Council and chair of the Constitutional Reform Committee. For four years, she was recipient of the Academic Excellence Scholarship and Community Leadership Scholarship. She also served as public relations officer for her sorority, Phi Mu, a volunteer at LeBonheur Children’s Hospital and a student ambassador for Special Olympics.

Matthews can be reached at 662-915-1122 or suzette@olemiss.edu, Morrison at 662-915-2135 or katie@olemiss.edu, Porchivina at 662-915-1584 or rmprochi@olemiss.edu, and Wakefield at 662-915-2712 or mmwakefi@olemiss.edu.

Courtesy of Carter Hach and the Ole Miss News Desk 

Adam Brown
Adam Brown
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