The Oakton Community College Board of Trustees Tuesday evening affirmed the appointment of Mary Knight as the college’s executive director of development.

 Knight starts her new position at Oakton on Monday, Nov. 2.

“Raising awareness for Oakton, its important role in educating our community, and how the foundation empowers students to pursue their dreams is an important message to communicate as we seek to not only provide access to education but success in education,” Oakton President Joianne L. Smith said in a statement. “Mary Knight is an experienced advancement officer who understands the importance of alumni engagement and donor stewardship in moving the college forward in that regard.”

Most recently, Knight was the chief advancement officer and executive director of the educational foundation for Harper College, where she increased the funding and awarding of foundation scholarships and developed major gift and planned gift programs for student success.

Previously, she served as the chief development officer for the Mayo Clinic Health System, where she oversaw a $12.5 million hospital expansion campaign, an $8 million campaign to build a new emergency department, and a $2 million campaign to build a corporate child development center. Knight also served as the development director for the Chippewa Area Catholic School System, resource development director for Bloomer Medical Center, and development director for the Eau Claire Regional Arts Center.

As Oakton’s executive director of development, Knight will oversee all aspects of the college’s alumni programs and fundraising activities. Since 1977, the Oakton Community College Educational Foundation has benefited thousands of students, faculty, and staff by supporting college initiatives not met by public funds.

“I am honored to join the Oakton community as we strive to provide access to an excellent education for all who enter the doors of this outstanding community college,” Knight said. “Transforming lives and providing a path to a bright future is our goal through foundation scholarships and philanthropic support from individuals and corporate partners.”

Prior to her career in philanthropy, Knight served as instructional academic staff at Washington University in St. Louis and the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, and was an assistant professor of music at Lewis University in Romeoville, where she served as a department chair.

Knight holds a bachelor’s degree in music from Central Methodist University, a master’s degree in music theory from Colorado State University, and a Ph.D. in music theory from Washington University in St. Louis.

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