HICKORY — Lenoir-Rhyne University announced the appointment of Catherine “Cat” Serrin Niekro as the new vice president for institutional advancement. She will assume her new role on Aug. 21.
Niekro comes to LRU from Davidson College, where she most recently served as the associate vice president for advancement operations and director of college special projects. During her seven years at Davidson, Niekro received multiple promotions, continuously increasing her leadership responsibilities. Prior to working at Davidson College, Niekro spent 11 years at the University of Michigan where she served as vice president for marketing and communications at the Alumni Association.
“I am thrilled to join Lenoir-Rhyne as the vice president of institutional advancement,” Niekro said. “The members of the LR family, whom I have met so far, are passionate about the university and excited about what the future holds for LR. I truly believe LR is a university on the move and look forward to being a part of this remarkable community.”
In her role at LRU, Niekro will serve as the chief advancement officer for the university. Her responsibilities include administration of the Office of Institutional Advancement, management of the university’s development efforts, and oversight of all alumni, parent, and donor relations.
“Cat brings impressive credentials from her 18 years of university advancement experiences at both Davidson College and the University of Michigan,” said Fred Whitt, LRU president. “We are very pleased to have her join Lenoir-Rhyne. She is the right leader for this important role at the university, and I believe she can aggressively optimize new opportunities for our college that will benefit our students, programs, and community connections.”
Niekro received her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Michigan in Sports Management and Communications, her Master of Science in Journalism from Northwestern University, and holds a Master of Business Administration from Central Michigan University. In addition, she is pursuing a Certificate in Data Analytics in Higher Education from Arizona State University.
Niekro is a wife and the mother of three children ages 7, 9, and 11.
Lenoir-Rhyne University’s Office of Institutional Advancement has raised between $7 million and $11 million annually over the last three years for the annual fund, major gifts, capital campaigns, and donations to the Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary. In 2015, a successful capital campaign was completed, raising $66.5 million in gifts and commitments. The endowment is approximately $106 million.