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Dr. C.J. Vires has been named associate vice president for research and advancement at East Central University, an expanded position that combines ECU's Office of Sponsored Programs and Research with the Division of Advancement and Alumni Relations.

The new position was approved Nov. 6 by the Board of Regents of the Regional University System of Oklahoma.

A reception will be held from 2 to 3 p.m. Wednesday [NOV. 18] at the Sterling L. Williams Foundation and Alumni Center to honor Vires and Dr. Diane Berty, vice president of student development. Berty has served as interim vice president of advancement for nearly two years.

Vires, who came to ECU in October 1999 as director of the Grants Research Information Center, also served as interim assistant vice president for academic affairs from January 2005 to July 2006 when he became associate vice president for sponsored programs and research.

He will continue to lead the university's efforts to obtain external funding through grants and contracts from federal and state agencies as well as lead ECU's efforts in the advancement area. The Advancement Office is responsible for raising funds largely from alumni and friends of the university as well as corporations and foundations. Those gifts establish scholarships and provide funding for a variety of unmet needs of the university.

"We are creating one office responsible for the majority of the university's fundraising efforts," said ECU President John Hargrave. "Combining these two fundraising arms of the university will increase our efficiency and allow the staff to leverage their efforts."

Throughout his career, Vires has helped secure approximately $60 million in competitive funding for ECU and other entities either as a principal investigator, co-principal investigator, consultant or technical adviser.

"In fact, ECU's largest single source of funding in the 2009 fiscal year was $19.9 million from grants and contracts. That was 34 percent of the university's total operational budget," Hargrave said. "I am grateful that Dr. Vires has agreed to serve ECU in this expanded capacity, and I am also grateful for the leadership that Dr. Berty has provided as interim vice president for advancement since February 2008."

Vires said he will work with the advancement staff as well as ECU's faculty, staff, alumni and friends to develop a vision for the Research and Advancement Office and to solidify fundraising efforts in support of the university's strategic direction.

"We will identify campus needs that present the greatest opportunities for alumni and friends to help the university," he said.

Vires said he looks forward to working under the leadership of President Hargrave and with the advancement staff as well as the ECU Foundation Inc. and its new executive director, Phyllis Danley Kunze.

"They are very talented and knowledgeable. Many great things are already happening in this area. I hope to build on those efforts and on the successes that occurred under Dr. Berty's leadership.

"I think it is an exciting time for the university and the foundation. We have President Hargrave, Phyllis Danley Kunze and myself, who are all ECU alumni with ties to the Ada community and who will be working together for the university's advancement," he added. "We have great potential, especially with the strong support of ECU's alumni and the community."

During the current economic situation, external funding is more important than ever, he said.

"State appropriations and tuition and fees don't meet all our needs," he said. "Grants from federal and state agencies and gifts from individuals, corporations and foundations augment those funds and support ECU's continued excellence."

Vires also will work with the Office of Alumni Relations. He pointed out the success of alumni activities during Homecoming, especially the record number of participants in the golf tournament and 5K run.

"We also have had great support for ECU's Centennial. The President's Circle, which supports many projects and events we would not have otherwise, has shown continuing growth and support since President Hargrave came to ECU," he said.

Alumni and friends also have made possible a number of significant enhancements to ECU's athletic facilities.

Vires said his new position also allows him to give back to the university.

"I would not have been able to come to ECU without a music scholarship," he said. "I understand the importance of our increased efforts in the area of raising scholarship funds."

Vires received a bachelor of music education degree in 1987 and a master of education degree in 1994, both from ECU. He completed coursework Oklahoma State University to obtain a school superintendent certificate in 1997 and completed his doctorate in adult and higher education this fall from the University of Oklahoma.

He met his wife, Linda, at ECU. She is director of health information management at Valley View Regional Hospital. They have two college-age children and two adopted daughters ages 3 and 4.

The family lived in Konawa 13 years when Vires directed bands at Konawa and Shawnee. He also was an assistant to the superintendent at Konawa.

They have lived in Ada 10 years and are members of Southwest church of Christ where he serves as a deacon and teacher.

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