In this key leadership position, Phillips will work closely with Dean Donald Heller and Associate Director of Development Julie Bird to reach philanthropic goals established by the college. Phillips succeeds Michelle Mertz in this position, and is a 1997 graduate of MSU’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources.
“I’m very excited to have Melissa joining us to head our development team,” said Heller. “She brings a wealth of experience in development work across a wide range of institutions, and as an MSU alumnus she knows the university well. I’m looking forward to working with her as we gear up for the next capital campaign.”
With an extensive background in higher education fundraising, Phillips most recently served as senior director of development at the Iowa State University Foundation’s College of Business, where she provided leadership for an office charged with raising $7 million annually.
“I’m beyond excited to be back here at MSU,” Phillips said. “I am extremely humbled by the opportunity to lead the College of Education development team. I am eager to continue to build support for the outstanding and highly reputable programs in the college.”
Previous to her position with Iowa State, she was associate director of development, focusing on major gifts of $250,000 or more, at University of Pennsylvania’s Western Regional Office. Prior to that, she worked as assistant director of development at University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business and cultivated gifts from $500 to $300,000 annually.