Mike Bonnette has been named the new Associate Director for Development of The University of Southern Mississippi Foundation as its development staff transitions from college-based fundraising to initiative-based fundraising.
In this new development format, Bonnette will focus on the University’s top fundraising initiatives as defined by the University’s Executive Cabinet. He will oversee the Foundation’s development activities, campaign planning, annual giving, major gifts and planned gifts, as well as the communications and special events functions. He is also responsible for directing the efforts of the Foundation’s development officers.
“I truly believe this transition to a centralized, initiative-based fundraising model will be a game changer for fundraising at Southern Miss,” Bob Pierce, vice president for advancement and executive director of the USM Foundation. “In the new structure, the development officers will work as a team to generate private, charitable funding for the top priorities identified by the University administration. I expect us to raise more money on an annual basis and to form stronger relationships with our donors.”
Before joining the USM Foundation staff, Bonnette was responsible for major gifts and volunteer board development at Clemson University where he served as a central staff development officer. Bonnette also brings experience from his work in Alumni Affairs at Clemson where he held the positions of director of business development and director of marketing and communications.
“Mike is exactly what we were looking for in our new associate director for development,” said Pierce. “His combination of development experience at a major research university coupled with management experience in the private sector made his background and skill set perfectly suited for this important position. We are glad to have him here.”
Bonnette is a two-time graduate of Clemson University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in agricultural education and a master’s degree in human resource development. Prior to his work in development, Bonnette worked in the agricultural chemical industry in account management and sales, and marketing support. He plans to complete a doctorate in higher education administration within the next year. Bonnette and his wife Amy have two children: Carson, 3 years old, and Laura, 5 months old.