Special Assistant to the President for Fundraising at Lincoln University and Executive Director of the Lincoln University Foundation Inc.
Willie Jude exudes out-of-the-box excitement about his role to help strengthen and expand Lincoln University as it celebrates its 150th anniversary.
“The history of Lincoln University is simply riveting,” Jude says. “Our university is the only one founded by veterans, men of the 62nd and 65th colored infantries. As they retired their weapons from the Civil War, they wanted to arm themselves, their families and friends with something even more powerful — knowledge. How can you not be proud and motivated by this notion?”
Jude works tirelessly alongside Lincoln University President Dr. Kevin D. Rome, the board of curators, the foundation board and the school’s national alumni association with fundraising efforts and more.
“I am excited for the opportunity to assist our overall institution to greater fundraising success,” Jude says. “If we want our students to grow and prosper, we will provide needed support to our academics and athletics programs while supporting the university in fulfilling its mission, goals and master plan.”
As someone who wears a lot of hats, Jude is accountable for leading the university’s fund development efforts including major gifts, corporate and foundation giving, annual giving and planned giving. He also has oversight responsibilities for several departments, including marketing, communications and public relations and alumni affairs.
Laura Bennett-Smith, a co-worker who nominated Jude, speaks of his involvement and ability to effectively bridge the gap between the campus and community.
“He cultivates learning and professional development opportunities within his team at Lincoln University to inspire others to be the best,” Bennett-Smith says. “Willie is an extraordinarily loyal, dedicated and positive person who brings great energy to everyone he meets.”
Without a doubt, Jude’s favorite aspect of his career revolves around service where he can support students, employees and alumni in a variety of ways.
“I have a passion to impact lives,” Jude says. “I have found that this field is a definite vehicle to reach out to those around you, directly and indirectly, in a valuable manner. This position is more than a job to me; it is lifework.”
Family: Wife, Joi N. Jude
Charity of Choice: Lincoln University Foundation Inc., Boys & Girls Clubs, United Way of Central Missouri
“My parents instilled the importance of giving back to the community,” Jude says. “These organizations provide in-service learning, mentorship, and coaching for diverse populations. These organizations foster environments that promote hope, healthy lives, positive thought, and inspiration for education.”
Community Involvement: Jude is an ambassador for the Jefferson City Chamber of Commerce and involved with the United Way of Central Missouri Board of Governing, Downtown Rotary Club, Lions Club, Chamber of Commerce Young Professionals, Downtown Jefferson City Association, Eastside Business Association, and Boy Scouts.