Western Governors University taps experienced advancement exec to lead nonprofit fundraising entity
Western Governors University (WGU) today announced the appointment of Annalisa Holcombe as President of WGU Advancement, effective Sept. 16. Holcombe brings more than 15 years of experience in higher education, fundraising, and community relations to WGU’s nonprofit fundraising organization, which focuses on building financial support for initiatives that drive the university’s commitment to reinvigorating the promise of higher education for all.
“WGU Advancement proved in its first year that it can activate individuals, employers, sector partners, and philanthropic foundations that believe in WGU’s purpose and wish to contribute to its transformative endeavor,” said WGU President Scott Pulsipher. “Annalisa’s track record of success in academic, administrative, and executive roles will be invaluable to Advancement’s mission—helping us scale WGU’s impact not only to make college more affordable for students in need, but also to drive innovation in higher education and impact the lives of hundreds of thousands of students.”
Holcombe joins WGU Advancement after serving in various roles over more than a decade at Westminster College in Salt Lake City, most recently as Vice President and Chief Advancement Officer. She helped lead the university to its highest-grossing fundraising year in its history and was responsible for the creation of its community relations department. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Management from Westminster College and a juris doctorate from the University of Utah College of Law.
“With more than 155,000 alumni, alignment with workforce and sector partners, and deep ties to communities across the U.S., WGU is well positioned to prioritize fundraising and invite financial commitments to accelerate the impact it can have in making opportunity work for everyone,” said Holcombe. “I’m proud of the fundraising and development contributions I’ve been able to make in my community, and I look forward to focusing my efforts to help WGU enable access, affordability, and innovation in higher education—on a very large scale.”
WGU Advancement was launched in 2018 to generate financial support for WGU students and to help fund the university’s design of new curriculum and programs that support workforce needs, while also helping to fund the university’s broader innovation agenda, such as college readiness and workforce reskilling.
About WGU Advancement
WGU Advancement is a nonprofit fundraising foundation created by Western Governors University to expand access to and accelerate innovation in education. A 501(c)(3) organization, Advancement’s focus is on complementing and enhancing the WGU vision to reinvigorate the promise of higher education. In addition to scholarships and other initiatives aimed at increasing access, Advancement raises funds to support development of innovative programs, research, and technologies that will improve educational quality and student outcomes. Learn more at www.wgu.edu/advancement.
Established in 1997 by 19 U.S. governors with a mission to expand access to high-quality, affordable higher education, online, nonprofit WGU now serves more than 117,000 students nationwide and has more than 155,000 graduates in all 50 states. Driving innovation as the nation’s leading competency-based university, WGU has been recognized by the White House, state leaders, employers, and students as a model that works in postsecondary education. In just 21 years, the university has become a leading influence in changing the lives of individuals and families, and preparing the workforce needed in today’s rapidly evolving economy. WGU is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities, has been named one of Fast Company’s Most Innovative Companies, and was featured on NPR, NBC Nightly News, CNN, and in The New York Times. Learn more at www.wgu.edu.