Valerie S. Lawson assumed the role of Vice Chancellor for Advancement and Alumni Engagement at the University of Virginia’s College at Wise and Executive Director of the UVA Wise Foundation in September 2019. Under Lawson’s leadership, her team is achieving the goals of the College through private gifts, strengthening the relationships among its constituents and communicating the values of the educational experience to supporters and prospects.
Lawson is leading a team of talented staff members who are responsible for alumni engagement, annual fund, corporate and foundation relations, athletic giving, major gifts and gift planning, gift processing and accounting. Together, they are cultivating strong supporters and inspiring servant leaders to become engaged with the Alumni Association Board, the Foundation Board, the Campaign Cabinet and the Highland Cavalier Club Board.
Prior to her current role, Lawson served as Senior Director of Advancement where she played an instrumental role in the College’s Fulfilling the Dream Campaign which exceeded its $50 million-dollar goal, raising more than $67 million. She devoted nearly two decades as the Director of Alumni Relations where she developed a dedicated cadre of volunteers and leadership for the Alumni Association Board of Directors; launched a successful fundraising initiative to purchase and renovate the Alumni Hall facility.
Lawson has made many notable contributions to UVA Wise through leadership of several significant milestones including the Inauguration of Chancellor L. Jay Lemons, the 18-month long 50th Anniversary Celebrations, Name-Change Celebration, Fulfilling the Dream Campaign Launch, and the Honor the Future Campaign Launch.
She is a Vice-Chair of the Rapha Foundation and a member of the Wise County Community Ballad Healthcare Board. She has been a dedicated volunteer serving as President of the Wise County Chamber of Commerce, Chair of the Town of Wise Planning Commission and Board of Zoning Appeals. Lawson served as the first Chair of the College’s Staff Senate and has been a recipient of the Tom Galyean Award for Exceptional Contribution to the Academic Mission.
Lawson earned a Bachelor of Science in Business and Public Administration from the University of Virginia’s College at Wise. She earned a Master of Higher Education Administration and a Certificate in Fundraising Management from North Park University.