Hendrix College has named Dr. Meredith N. Brunen as its new Vice President for Advancement, effective May 1, 2024.
“We are excited for Dr. Brunen to join the Hendrix community and serve on the College’s leadership team in this critical role,” said Hendrix President Karen Petersen. “She is a seasoned higher education advancement professional with nearly two decades of successful experience, and she is very familiar with the role of Advancement in fostering lifelong relationships for the benefit of the College and its students.”
A northwest Arkansas native, Dr. Brunen joins the Hendrix community from the University of West Georgia (UWG) in Carrollton, Georgia, where she serves as Vice President for Advancement and CEO of UWG Foundations. Under her leadership, UWG had its most successful fundraising year in history, including a 156% year-over-year increase and the institution’s largest gift ever. She also played a key role in securing a $1 million gift to establish the Stone Center for Family Business, Entrepreneurship, and Innovation. At UWG, Brunen successfully led the team to close out a $50 million campaign.
Prior to joining UWG, Dr. Brunen served in similar executive roles at the University of South Carolina Upstate in Spartanburg, South Carolina, University of West Florida in Pensacola, Florida, and NorthWest Arkansas Community College in Bentonville, Arkansas. Her fundraising milestones from these previous roles include a $1.6 million legacy gift to support international travel for business students (USC Upstate), a $3 million scholarship endowment for immigrants and refugees (UWF), a $15 million grant from the Walton Family Foundation for Brightwater: A Center for the Study of Food project (NWACC).
“I am honored to return to my home state of Arkansas and join the esteemed Hendrix College community as Vice President of Advancement,” said Brunen. “Under the inspiring leadership of President Karen Petersen, I am eager to contribute to the College’s legacy of excellence and lead strategic initiatives that will shape the future of philanthropy at Hendrix. My family and I are thrilled to embark on this exciting journey, reuniting with the warmth and hospitality that make Arkansas truly special.”
Brunen is an active member of national organizations, including the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP), the American Association of University Women (AAUW), and the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE). She serves on the AFP Global Women’s Impact Committee and Marketing, Awards, and Communication Committee. On a local level, she is a member of the Newnan Rotary Club and is the incoming Chair of the Grants Committee.
A Fayetteville native, Dr. Brunen earned three degrees from the University of Arkansas: a bachelor’s degree in international relations and Middle East studies, and both master’s and doctoral degrees in higher education leadership. She is married to Kyle Brunen, who is currently working for Emory University and is also a University of Arkansas alumnus. They have two young sons, Jude and Beau.