Lee Named Vice President of University Advancement, Executive Director of Southeast Missouri University Foundation


Dr. Trudy Lee has been named vice president of University Advancement and executive director of the Southeast Missouri University Foundation effective immediately.

Dr. Carlos Vargas, president of Southeast Missouri State University, announced the appointment today. Lee has been serving in this role in an interim capacity following the retirement of Bill Holland in 2018. Her appointment is for a two-year term ending June 30, 2022.

“After carefully considering the future direction of the Foundation and consulting with our Board of Regents, I decided it would be in the best interest of the University to not engage in a search at this time,” he said.

Vargas said that under Lee’s leadership, the Foundation recently engaged a consulting firm, Grenzebach Glier and Associates (GG+A), to review the human and technological infrastructure in the Division of Advancement. Their report has been received, and several projects have been identified and are currently underway. Completion of most of these projects is expected by 2022.

“Trudy is currently reviewing their recommendations, and I believe it would be best for continuity purposes that she oversees these projects successfully to completion,” he said.

Lee said she is looking forward to her continued leadership role with the Foundation.

“I’m excited to work with President Vargas, the University’s administration, faculty, staff and students to make Southeast Missouri State the best it can be,” she said. “I’m also honored to work with great team members in the Advancement Division who each bring a great deal of talent and professionalism to our work on behalf of the University and our students.”

Lee’s two-year appointment will provide the opportunity for the Foundation staff to complete several major projects that will position the Advancement Division for accelerating sustainable growth in philanthropic support of the University as recommended by GG+A. These projects also will lay the groundwork for the Advancement Division to increase its fundraising capacity and place the Foundation in good stead to coincide with Lee’s planned retirement in 2022, Vargas said.

Lee has served the Foundation since 2001.

“Since joining Southeast, I’ve had the privilege of developing wonderful relationships at the University and with hundreds of alumni and donors,” Lee said. “In this capacity, I’m thrilled to be able to develop connections that result in truly impactful relationships with those who wish to make a difference in the lives of Southeast students through their philanthropic gifts and involvement with the University.”

Vargas thanked Lee for her dedication and commitment to the mission of Southeast Missouri State University and the southeast Missouri region.

“She is a consummate professional who is superbly qualified,” he said. “I value her judgment and expertise, and I look forward to continuing to work with her.”

Lee resides in Cape Girardeau with her husband, Terry. Their family includes son Bryndon and his wife Chris, and their son Erik, his wife Nicole and their children, Briana and Eliot.