UofM Selects Auburn Exec as New Leader of Advancement

Tara Jones

April 17, 2024 — Longtime advancement professional Tara Jones, most recently with Auburn University in Alabama, will become the Senior Vice President of Advancement for the University of Memphis and the University of Memphis Foundation, it was announced today.

Jones, who has more than two decades of experience in higher education advancement and development, served as the Executive Director and Associate Vice President for Constituent Development, among other roles, during her time at Auburn. She received all three of her degrees from there — a PhD in Administration of Higher Education, a Master of Business Administration and a Bachelor of Science in International Business.

“I am deeply honored to serve the University of Memphis in this pivotal role," Jones said. "I look forward to working with the team and stakeholders to shape strategies that elevate engagement, philanthropy and financial support to new heights. I am incredibly excited to help build and strengthen partnerships to advance the University’s mission and vision.”

As the SVP of Advancement, Jones will be a member of President Hardgrave’s executive leadership team responsible for strengthening the UofM community by bolstering donor relationships, building engagement with key stakeholders and maintaining a portfolio of over $35 million raised annually, more than 150,000 UofM alumni, eight giving societies and nearly 1,500 types of scholarships.

“Tara has an established record of success in developing and leading high-performing advancement teams,” said Hardgrave. “Her years of experience in the fundraising space will be instrumental as the UofM looks to strengthen its position among R1 research universities. We are fortunate to have her come on board as a University of Memphis Tiger.”

With a staff of 40-plus people, Jones will direct her attention to the UofM Foundation and four primary areas within advancement: alumni engagement, major gifts, advancement services, and donor relations. In this essential role, Jones will look to implement development strategies that advance the mission of the UofM and enrich its future by securing philanthropic support for academic initiatives, aligning with the Ascend strategic plan to generate and steward financial resources, including the cultivation of donor-centered relationships with alumni, supporters and organizations.

Jones will begin her new role June 1.


Jennifer Godwin
Director of Media and Public Relations
(O) 901.678.4822 (M) 501.529.7482

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