UHCL's new fundraising chief: all about building relationships

June 28, 2019 | Katherine Adams

UHCL's new fundraising chief: all about building relationships

Joseph L. Staley will join University of Houston-Clear Lake’s leadership team as vice president for University Advancement beginning July 1. Staley, who was vice chancellor for Resource Development at Johnson and Wales University in Providence, Rhode Island for four years, has spent nearly his entire career in fundraising for higher education.

“I see my role at UH-Clear Lake an opportunity to help lead a university that is building, literally and figuratively, and I think that’s exciting,” Staley said. “With UHCL’s downward expansion and recent construction, including the new residence hall, this is a time for me to get in on the ground floor with a leadership team that is truly building something.”

As he proceeded through the selection process, Staley discovered that he and Mark Lindemood, UHCL’s interim vice president for University Advancement, had actually met a few years ago. “All the pieces started falling into place nicely,” Staley said. “After I did the phone interview, the fly-in interviews were really interesting and enjoyable. That’s when I got the sense that beyond understanding my technical proficiencies, the search committee was building a relationship with me right out of the gate. I took it as a very good signal. The committee represented different aspects of the university and the fact that they were bridgebuilders was a harbinger of success for me and university advancement. I left the interview having decided that UHCL was the right fit for me.”

“I am thrilled that Mr. Staley has accepted our offer to join UH-Clear Lake’s leadership team. He brings extraordinary acumen and experience in philanthropy and will expand UHCL’s ability to connect to the generosity of our alumni and external stakeholders,” said UHCL President Ira K. Blake.

Staley said that he is a second-generation fundraiser. His father began his career as a lawyer, but then moved into fundraising and started a firm, which Staley later took over. “I grew up around this work,” he said. “I knew it was something I was interested in doing and it always felt like a good fit. In college, I volunteered as a phone-a-thoner, and I really enjoyed it. I spent several years as an annual fund officer at University of Pennsylvania before becoming a consultant. I then moved into fundraising for higher education. I look forward to assisting Dr. Blake and colleagues on the leadership team in support of our students, alumni, and faculty.”

Over a period of 25 years in this career, Staley said, he had acquired an interesting set of tools to work with. “I think it’s exciting and fun to build a team,” he said. “It’s all about how we are going to build relationships with people and how we can best align UHCL priorities with others’ philanthropic interests. It takes time and effort, but it’s well worth it, and that’s how you capture and create lifetime donors to UHCL.”

When he arrives, he said, he’ll begin by going on a “listening tour. I’ll meet with deans, faculty, and students, and be sure to have their voices inform our team’s approach,” he said. “In short order, I hope our team can meet ambitious goals while framing our work to be consistent with strategic planning and the goals and vision of our president.”

He added, “The leadership and plan are in place. I look forward to bringing bench strength and leadership to the team and help make UHCL a philanthropic priority. With the team we have, I like our chances.”