UWG Welcomes New Vice President for University Advancement

Sam Gentry

Wednesday, April 8th, 2020

The University of West Georgia announced the appointment of Dr. Meredith N. Brunen as vice president of University Advancement and chief executive officer of the UWG Foundations, effective April 13.

Brunen will be responsible for overseeing the University Advancement division, which includes Advancement Services, Alumni Relations and Annual Giving, Development, and Donor Relations and Special Events.

UWG President Dr. Brendan B. Kelly said he has absolute confidence in Brunen and is elated to have her on board.

“I have tremendous faith in her talent, collaborative and innovative leadership, and rich experience in university advancement,” Kelly said. “I couldn’t be more thrilled that she is investing herself in UWG.”

Brunen previously served as vice chancellor for University Advancement and chief executive officer of two foundations at the University of South Carolina (USC) Upstate in Spartanburg, South Carolina. She worked extensively and successfully to enhance fundraising outcomes for the university, help elevate the profile of USC Upstate, and engage community partners by sharing a strategic vision and the importance of the university to the region. 

Her work at the university was transformative, as she worked to hire top talent, establish new standards of professionalism around communication and fundraising initiatives, and cultivate relationships and pride among graduates, donors, and community stakeholders. 

Prior to joining USC Upstate, Brunen served in executive leadership roles at the University of West Florida in Pensacola, Florida, and Northwest Arkansas Community College Foundation in Bentonville, Arkansas.

"My passion for our work is rooted in the ripple effect – where the seed of higher education blossoms through transformative experiences and enriches individual lives, families and communities,” Brunen said. “I am delighted to be joining this university community that is in service to a student-centered mission, and I look forward to leading a talented group of colleagues to advance President Kelly's vision for the future."

As a practitioner and contributor to her field, Brunen has conducted, published and presented research focused on institutional advancement in higher education. She is an active member of numerous national organizations, including the Association of Fundraising Professionals, the American Association of University Women, and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education.

A native of Fayetteville, Arkansas, Brunen earned three degrees from the University of Arkansas: a bachelor’s degree in international relations and Middle East studies, and both master’s and doctoral degrees in higher education leadership.

Brunen and her husband, Kyle – a health and wellness professional – have been married for 16 years. The couple has two young sons, Jude and Beau.

“I am excited about working together and harnessing our collective talents for the benefit of the students, the university and the region,” she said. “As a family, we are excited to dive in and begin our journey at UWG, proudly sport our red and blue, and cheer on the Wolves as we literally and figuratively Go West.”