• Thomason joins UWA as VP for advancement

    Posted: June 30, 2016

    Author: Public Relations

    The University of West Alabama has announced the newest member of its President’s Council. Vice President for Institutional Advancement Dr. Chris Thomason took office June 6 to lead the University’s development, alumni, and public relations team.

    Thomason comes to UWA after four successful years as senior director of development and community relations for the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center, having led the fundraising and relationship building program by raising more than $21 million in his time there. From 2009-2012, Thomason was director of development for UAB’s Department of Surgery.

    A McCalla, Ala., native, Thomason became a certified fund raising executive (CFRE) in 2009. He brings to UWA experience that suits him for working proactively with faculty, staff, alumni, students, and other stakeholders to enhance all areas of the University.

    Thomason addressed the UWA Board of Trustees on his first day of work, saying that he is eager to meet and work with the University and community. Those who have met him know that he sees success as the result of teamwork.

    “I came to UWA to be part of a family,” Thomason said. “Even in just a few visits to campus, I quickly recognized the sense of family on campus, and I am excited to be part of that.”

    “My work here begins with an audit of our advancement operations, and I’ve hit the road running,” he explained.

    In his first three weeks, Thomason has already made connections with several different groups of the campus community, including alumni from the 1971 National Championship football team at their reunion, and with campus guests and others gathered for the commemorative event hosted by the Julia Tutwiler Library honoring their namesake. He met with several trustees at Monday’s board meeting, and he’s visited offices across campus in his first days. He’s also becoming a familiar face at the UWA Fitness Center at the SUB.

    In the coming weeks and months, Thomason will be introduced at alumni chapter gatherings, and special events on campus.

    “I’ve heard for some time now that when people say, ‘there’s something about this place’ that ‘something’ is the people,” Thomason said. “I see that. I’m ready to get out and meet more of the people that make UWA so special, to learn their stories, to take part in traditions, and to help build new ones.”

    Prior to working at UAB, Thomason was finance director for the Greater Alabama Council of Boy Scouts of America. In one year he raised more than $3 million for the BSA and also helped grow membership. Thomason is a lifelong member of the organization, having been named an Eagle Scout in 1984. Thomason’s sons are also Eagle Scouts (2013).

    Thomason spent some 24 years with YMCA, beginning as a program coordinator and working through the ranks of program and camp director to branch director, and then as executive director for YMCA of the Coosa Valley for nearly 11 years. In that position he was responsible for financial development, membership development, personnel management, marketing, public relations, government relations, and operations of the organization.

    “YMCA is an organization that’s close to my heart,” Thomason said. “At a young age I came to appreciate the mentoring and opportunities the YMCA offers in the community, and it inspired me to find ways to help further the mission.”

    Thomason helped further the YMCA mission through his skills in team leading in his early years with the organization in Bessemer, Ala., Waycross, Ga., Jackson, Miss., and later by more than doubling the membership, increasing the budget, and increasing annual giving by 400 percent for the Coosa Valley (Gadsden, Ala.) operation. His development efforts led to the completion of a capital campaign and a renovated downtown YMCA.

    He has seven years of military service as an Opticalman and in information management for the U.S. Navy and Navy Reserve, serving from 1988-1995.

    Thomason holds a master of public administration and a bachelor’s degree in psychology and physical education from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. He also holds masters and doctorate degrees from seminary in counseling.

    Thomason has been married to Judith Dabbs, of Concord, Ala., for 25 years. They have three children, Aryn (22), Christian (18), and Chandler (18). Aryn studies special education at Athens State University. Christian and Chandler are freshmen at Auburn University Montgomery studying psychology and biology, respectively, and playing soccer for Head Men’s Soccer Coach Wulf Koch.

    Thomason’s interests outside of university advancement include soccer, hunting, fishing, music, and reading. 

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