UMKC Foundation Leadership
Steven P. Norris, 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.
Norris joined the foundation as its second president in January of
2015 after spending nearly 10 years at the University of Texas MD
Anderson Cancer Center, most recently as executive director for
development. Norris oversaw the annual fund, digital fundraising, and
planned giving. He was responsible for $50 million annually in
fundraising. At UMKC, he oversees the foundation’s $250 million capital
Campaign for UMKC.
Norris’ fundraising career began in Kansas City as associate director of development for the Salvation Army of Kansas & Western Missouri. He holds a master’s degree in public administration from UMKC.
Murray Blackwelder, campaign counsel, served as president of the UMKC Foundation from 2009 through 2014. He plans to retire in June 2015. 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. 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.
Blackwelder 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. He is the former president of the Wichita Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) and was named the 2014 Outstanding Fundraising Professional by AFP's Mid-America Chapter.
Blackwelder holds a master's degree in public administration from UMKC and a bachelor of science in business administration from Baker University.