Advancement; OUR Clemson

Karen McCauley Named Clemson University Foundation CEO


Karen McCauley has been named president and chief executive officer of the Clemson University Foundation, effective March 14, 2022. McCauley was selected following a national search. She has served most recently as the vice chancellor for development at the University System of Georgia. 

In her new role, McCauley will be responsible for leading and growing three university foundations, including the Clemson University Foundation (CUF), the Clemson University Real Estate Foundation (CUREF), and the Clemson University Land Stewardship Foundation (CULSF). She will develop investment and spending strategy, policy, execution and the provision of significant monetary support. As well, McCauley will develop and implement entrepreneurial initiatives and strategic planning efforts for the foundation. She will report to the CUF Board and work directly with Clemson University President Jim Clements regarding how the foundation can best fulfill its mission of supporting the University.

“I am excited to welcome Karen McCauley to this vital role,” said President Clements. “Karen’s successful experience across a broad portfolio, including annual funds, principal and major gifts, donor relations and collaborative work will serve Clemson very well, and at a time in which we’ve surpassed a $1 billion-plus endowment.”

“On behalf of the Clemson University Foundation Board, we welcome Karen McCauley to Clemson and to the foundation,” said Ken Smith, CUF Board Chair. “We have the utmost confidence in Karen’s leadership and look forward to working with her to continue to manage and grow our endowment.”

“I am deeply honored to be named the President and CEO of the Clemson University Foundation and feel privileged to join the University Foundation Board in stewarding the investments of generations of loyal, generous contributors,” McCauley said. “I want to express my appreciation to President Clements, the CUF Board and the Clemson community for entrusting me with this important role. I truly believe in the power of education to transform lives through the pursuit and dissemination of knowledge. When we reflect today on access, opportunity, innovation and justice for all who seek a formal education to prepare for a contributing role in society, the land-grant mission of Clemson University remains as powerful a promise as its first inception. I look forward to working with the Clemson Family to leverage the private resources of our donors to put discovery to work, prepare the next generation of leaders and serve the great citizens of South Carolina.”

About Karen McCauley

Karen McCauley most recently served for four years as Vice Chancellor and Chief Advancement Officer for the University System of Georgia where she oversaw all fundraising and development activities while working collaboratively with presidents and chief advancement officers at the 26 universities and colleges within the system. In addition to supporting the USG Board of Regents pooled investment of more than $1.6 billion, she served as Vice President of the USG Real Estate Foundation, which managed a portfolio of capital projects totaling more than $500 million in assets.

Prior to her role at USG, McCauley served for more than seven years at Auburn University in ascending roles of responsibility, including working on a more than $1 billion comprehensive campaign and related strategic planning. Prior to that, she served in roles in nonprofit organization management.

McCauley has a Master of Arts in Communication from Auburn University and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from the University of Georgia.

About CUF

The Clemson University Foundation (CUF), chartered in 1933, is an independent, not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization promoting the welfare and future development of Clemson University. It seeks financial support through annual gifts, capital campaigns, planned giving and other ongoing fundraising programs. Additionally, CUF manages and disburses assets prudently within a policy that encourages the enhancement of the resources of the Foundation. It is governed by a board of directors consisting of Clemson alumni and friends who share in the pride of the University’s history and who are committed to its promise in the years to come.

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