Funk Associates Leading CEO Search for Purdue for Life Foundation

June 4, 2024 – Funk Associates has been called in by Purdue for Life Foundation to lead in its search for a new president and CEO. Managing vice president Willie Funk is leading the assignment. Purdue for Life Foundation is looking to attract an outstanding leader as its next president and CEO to lead and coordinate all engagement, development, and advancement efforts on behalf of Purdue University. The successful candidate will have significant executive level experience in a similar size or larger enterprise, will be capable of effectively operating in a complex, matrix organization, and will be a proven leader of people in terms of culture, vision, and strategy.

The incoming leader will develop, articulate, and implement long-range vision and strategy for Purdue for Life Foundation. They will align with university academic leadership to maximize the fundraising and alumni engagement potential to take Purdue to the ranks of the top five public universities nationally. The CEO will collaborate with provost, EVPs, deans, and other leaders to establish and ensure on-going alignment on all efforts.

In addition, Funk Associates explains the CEO will serve as primary ambassador for Purdue for Life Foundation with alumni, donors, partners, and within the university. They will support the constituency of the organizations that make up Purdue for Life Foundation to continually enhance engagement.

Purdue University is a public land-grant research university in West Lafayette, Indiana, and the flagship campus of the Purdue University system. Founded in 1869, Purdue is ranked 43rd in the annual ranking of 2024 U.S. News & World Report. For the class of 2025 (enrolled fall 2021), Purdue received 59,173 applications and accepted 40,759 (68.9 percent). Purdue for Life Foundation exists to serve and advance Purdue University and was created in 2020, by uniting the Purdue Alumni Association and the University Development Office.

Funk Associates is an executive search firm specializing in higher education executive recruitment. The firm has recruited chancellors/presidents for two-thirds of all public AAU universities. The firm has also recruited presidents or chancellors to more than one-half of U.S. News & World Report’s recently published “Top 30 National Universities.” Over time, it has conducted more than 425 searches for college and university presidents and chancellors as well as an even greater number of provosts, deans, and various vice presidents.

Recruiting Women and Minorities

The firm has been recognized by the Women’s Network of the American Council on Education (ACE) for its work in recruiting women and minorities to senior levels of higher education. Notably, the search firm has broken the color and/or gender line in president searches at more than 40 institutions around the country, making in one of the most highly sought after search firms across the sector.

Related: In Changing Times, Higher Education Sector Seeks New Types of Leaders

R. William “Bill” Funk, founder and president, is a widely respected search consultant serving higher education. He has been called the “guru of higher education recruiting” by The Chronicle of Higher Education and is listed as one of the 200 best executive recruiters in the world in The Global 200 Executive Recruiters: An Essential Guide to the Best Recruiters in the United States, Europe, Asia, and Latin America (Jossey-Bass, Inc.). Prior to founding his own firm 16 years ago, Mr. Funk was the national practice leader of the education practice and office managing director of the Dallas office for Korn Ferry International for more than a decade.

Funk Associates Initiates Podcast Series “Voices of Leadership”
Funk Associates announced the premier of its podcast series, “Voices of Leadership”. The podcasts are intended to showcase important leaders in higher education discussing contemporary topics. Dr. Gordon Gee, president of West Virginia University, will kick-off the series, with Dr. Michael Crow, president of Arizona State University, and Dr. Mung Chiang, president of Purdue University following consecutively at one week intervals. Additional thought-leaders will be scheduled going forward. Listeners are invited to tune into the series on the firm’s new website ( or on the Spotify and Apple podcast platforms. The series is hosted by Bill and Willie Funk. In addition to the podcast series, the firm is announcing its new offering in the recruitment of intercollegiate coaches and athletic directors, and introducing a new website format.

Willie Funk has an extensive background recruiting a lengthy list of presidents, provosts and deans and has recently completed searches at Clemson University, University of California – Santa Cruz, University of South Carolina, TCU, Old Dominion University, College of Charleston, University of Kansas, and Radford University, among many others.

Search Underway

Funk Associates was recently retained by the University of South Alabama to lead its search for a dean for the College of Engineering. The dean, reporting to the EVP and provost, serves as the chief academic officer for the college and guides the college’s efforts in academic curriculum development, faculty and staff development, research and scholarly activity, external fundraising and the building of partnerships with the industry community and alumni.

The school is looking to attract an innovative leader with strong leadership skills and a demonstrated commitment to establishing successful collaborative relationships within an environment in which faculty and stakeholders are fully engaged partners. The dean will be expected to elevate the level of excellence of University of South Alabama’s renowned high-quality education, nurturing students to be career-ready professionals. The dean will also be expected to enhance the research mission of the college, including facilitating increased sponsored research.

Related: Colleges and Universities Rely on Search Firms to Find Leaders in Polarizing Times

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Executive Editor; Lily Fauver, Senior Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media

Share This Article


Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments