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University Advancement

The mission of University Advancement is to build and maintain a donor base that will make a difference in the lives of students, faculty, and staff today and for the the future. This enables the university to fulfill its educational mission by augmenting current budgets and building on the university's endowments.

Derek van der Merwe
Derek van der Merwe | Vice President for Advancement, Communication and Strategic Planning
Kris Phillips
Kris Phillips | Executive Director for the Office of University Advancement
Kris returned to APSU, his alma mater (’91), in 2016 after a 16-year tenure at the University of Tennessee and the UT Health Science Center. In his role as Executive Director, he is responsible for all university engagement and fundraising activities. Kris and his wife, Tammy, have two sons - Brayden and Parker, the latter of which is a current APSU baseball student athlete.
Vonda St. Amant
Vonda St. Amant | Assistant Executive Director
Vonda is a 1983 graduate of APSU. After several years in non-profit fundraising, Vonda returned to her alma mater in 2010 and currently serves as Assistant Executive Director of University Advancement. Vonda oversees a dynamic development team and provides donor-focused leadership to help meet the strategic goals of the University.

Kimberly Adkison
Kimberly Adkison | Director of Donor Relations and Scholarships
Kimberly is a Clarksville native and APSU graduate in professional studies and management (BS ’06 and MS ’10). She serves as the Director of Donor Relations and Scholarships. Kimberly oversees stewardship management and scholarship compliance.
Jordan Harmon
Jordan Harmon | Director of Development - Athletics
Jordan attended APSU (BS ’17) and was a member of the GOVS baseball team. He embraces the opportunity to be in a position to give back to his alma mater while serving as Director of Development – Athletics. Let’s Go Peay!
Rylan Kean
Rylan Kean | Director of Annual Giving
A Clarksville native, Rylan graduated from APSU with a degree in communication and leadership (BS ’10 and MS ’15). Rylan serves as the Director of Annual Giving for APSU, where he oversees the Phonathon, Govs Give, Fund Development Board, Pave the Way and other annual giving campaigns.
Jerica Swiger
Jerica Swiger | Director of Development
Jerica Swiger has worked in the areas of arts, culture and development for several years with organizations such as Ohio Northern University, Eastern Michigan University and The Chicago Architecture Foundation. Jerica brings nearly 20 years of experience in all areas of non-profit and higher education management to APSU, where she assists the College of Arts and Letters, the College of Behavioral Health Sciences and the College of Graduate studies with membership development, programming, board development and fundraising. She holds a Master’s Degree in Non-profit Management with a concentration in Human Services and a Bachelor’s Degree in Arts Management with a minor in Management.


Brad Averitt mug
Brad Averitt | Director of Development
A native of Erin Tennessee, Brad is a two-time Austin Peay alumnus (BS 2010 in Corporate Communications and MS 2017 in Health and Human Performance). He began his career at APSU in Enrollment Management, serving as an Admissions Counselor from 2010-2016 and as the Coordinator of Graduate Recruitment from 2016-2018. He is eager for the opportunity to continue serving and strengthening his alma mater in his exciting new role as Director of Development, working with the College of Business.


Monica Wirts
Director of Advancement Services
Larry Wheeler
Functional Support Specialist
Lisa Parker
Office Supervisor
Amber Blurton
Advancement Specialist
Emily Crain
Advancement Specialist