Razorback Foundation executive director Chris Wyrick has agreed to leave his position to become the University of Arkansas’ vice chancellor for University Advancement, the UA announced on Wednesday.
Wyrick was a senior administrator for UA athletics director Jeff Long and served as the department’s primary contact with the Razorback Foundation before replacing
Tim Harold Horton as head of the not-for-profit foundation in September.
In his new role, Wyrick will replace Brad Choate, who was reassigned in December following a review that found the division had a $3.1 million shortfall for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2012.
UA chancellor Gearhart said the funds were properly used, but that the division ultimately lacked the financial resources sufficient to support a growth in staff it experienced in recent years in preparation for an upcoming capital campaign.
Gearhart said after several months of careful thought and consultation, he was happy to find a replacement for Choate within the UA family.
“Chris has more than 20 years of successful fundraising experience in higher education, including positions at the University of South Carolina, North Carolina State University, and Vanderbilt University,” Gearhart said Wednesday during a news conference to introduce Wyrick. “He has been with the University of Arkansas since 2008, and in that time has established himself as a superstar, highly regarded and admired by his colleagues.”
Wyrick said he learned a lot from his time at those universities and is anxious to apply that knowledge to his new role.
“I have seen what a first-rate advancement division looks like, how it is run, and what kind of impact it can have on a university,” Wyrick said. “I welcome the challenge of fulfilling chancellor Gearhart’s vision of making this university a Top 50 public research university.
“There is a huge capital campaign on the horizon that will be instrumental in making that happen,” Wyrick continued. “I look forward to working with our campus leaders, deans, department heads, professors, and students to make their dreams come true.”
Gearhart said Wyrick’s starting date as vice chancellor will be determined once Wyrick is able to work with his Razorback Foundation board and staff on a transition plan. In the meantime, Gearhart will continue to oversee the advancement division, which includes the university’s fundraising, communications, and alumni offices as well as the university’s special events and community relations units.