UMKC Foundation Leadership
Murray Blackwelder, president, plays an instrumental role in promoting a greater understanding of and support for the university’s mission, goals and major initiatives, and is responsible for meeting the Foundation’s annual fundraising goals.
Blackwelder has devoted his entire career to philanthropy in higher education. Before joining the UMKC Foundation, he was senior vice president for advancement at Purdue University. As Purdue’s lead fundraising executive, he directed a staff of more than 50 professionals to complete a $1.7 billion campaign, further solidifying his reputation as one of the best fundraisers in America. Prior to his tenure at Purdue, Blackwelder was vice president of external affairs at Iowa State University, where he oversaw two separate campaigns that raised more than $600 million. He also has held leadership positions at the Wichita State University Endowment Association, Wichita State University, Rockhurst University and Baker University.
He is an active member of the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE), having served as a CASE National Trustee and in a variety of conference chair positions. Blackwelder is the former president of the Wichita Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP). He continues to maintain an active membership in AFP.
Blackwelder holds a master’s degree in public administration from UMKC and a bachelor of science in business administration from Baker University.
Jenea Oliver, Ph.D., vice president of Development, oversees the Foundation’s fundraising strategies and execution. She is responsible for
coordinating efforts to ensure ongoing philanthropic support of the university’s mission and major initiatives.
An alumna of UMKC, Oliver earned her doctorate of philosophy degree in urban leadership and public administration in 2007. She has a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Missouri-Columbia and a bachelor’s degree in communication studies from Missouri Western State University.
Oliver has spent her career in higher education, beginning in college admissions and then transitioning to fundraising as part of the University of Missouri System. In 1996, she began working in development for MU Health Care.
Before joining UMKC in 2008, Oliver served as the executive director of Advancement at the MU School of Medicine, leading the school’s fundraising team to surpass its $100 million goal as part of the university’s successful $1 billion capital campaign.
In other positions at MU Health Care, Oliver functioned as senior director of development, developing strategies to secure seven- and eight-figure gifts throughout a multi-state area. Complementing her major gift experience, Oliver has a record of increasing annual fund giving and executing special events. Her research interest focuses on fundraiser retention.