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George Watt to Lead AGB’s Engagement with Institutionally Related Foundations as Senior Fellow

Jun 12, 2017

The Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges (AGB) announced today that George P. Watt Jr. has been appointed as a Senior Fellow, with a primary focus on AGB’s work with institutionally related foundations (IRFs). In this role, he will guide and direct programs and research supporting the work of public college and university foundations and their respective boards, including AGB’s annual Foundation Leadership Forum, which brings together hundreds of board members and CEOs of IRFs from across the country for a three-day program focused on governance practices, endowment management, fundraising leadership, and the sharing of sound management practices for IRFs.

Watt left a successful career in the private sector in the spring of 2000 to assume the role of joint president and chief executive officer for the U.S. Naval Academy Alumni Association and the U.S. Naval Academy Foundation. During his time in Annapolis, these two organizations realized substantial increases in alumni membership and member services; significant growth in net assets, endowed funds, and unrestricted reserves; and the creation of a sustainable fundraising model. In 2005, the Naval Academy Foundation, with Watt at the helm, completed a six-year comprehensive campaign resulting in $254 million in new commitments. In September 2008, Watt joined the executive leadership team at the College of Charleston (SC) in a dual role as executive vice president of institutional advancement and executive director of the College of Charleston Foundation. He led a team of advancement professionals and two volunteer boards in a comprehensive advancement strategy that included alumni relations, university development, annual fund programs, advancement services, and institutional funds management. In June of 2016, the college wrapped up the BOUNDLESS campaign, the largest and most comprehensive fundraising campaign in the College’s 246-year history.

“We are incredibly lucky to have George join AGB,” said AGB President Richard D. Legon. “He’s a longtime friend and supporter of this organization, and his experience and insight will advance our work with institutionally related foundations, equipping foundation boards to be stewards and champions of higher education.”

A 1973 graduate of the United States Naval Academy, Watt served at sea and in aviation squadrons as a junior officer and retired from the Naval Air Reserve with the permanent rank of Captain. He has worked in various management and executive roles at W.R. Grace & Co., the IBM Corporation, and First Union Corporation (Charlotte, NC). He and his wife Peggy remain active in the Charleston, SC, nonprofit and civic community and at the College of Charleston.

For nearly 100 years, the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges (AGB) has had one mission: to strengthen and protect this country’s unique form of institutional governance through its research, services, and advocacy. Serving more than 1,300 member boards and 40,000 individual citizen trustees, AGB is the only national organization providing university and college presidents, board chairs, trustees, and board professionals of both public as well as private institutions and institutionally related foundations with resources that enhance their effectiveness. In accordance with its mission, AGB has developed programs and services that strengthen the partnership between the president and governing board; provide guidance to regents and trustees; identify issues that affect tomorrow’s decision making; and foster cooperation among all constituencies in higher education.

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