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William R. (Rudy) Lewis has been named acting director of university advancement at East Central University, effective July 1.

The Advancement Office is responsible for alumni relations, event planning and the President's Circle as well as 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.

Photo of Rudy Lewis"To maintain the quality of life and support that our students and faculty expect and deserve, it is paramount that private giving makes the difference in these tough economic times," Lewis said.

As director, Lewis wants to tell the story of a quality faculty, advanced facilities and engaged people with the goal of matching donor interest with the school's needs.

"I would like to cultivate friends and excite them about ECU," he said.

Lewis has been in higher education for most of his professional career, beginning in the 1970s when he was dean of students at ECU.

Since then, he has been working to enhance the lives of students across the Midwest.

At the University of Nebraska system, which oversees the Lincoln, Omaha, Kearney and Medical Center campuses, he held several positions including vice president for university relations, assistant to the chancellor, vice chancellor for student affairs and director of university relations.

He also held similar positions with the University of Hawaii system, which includes the universities and community colleges in the state, and North Dakota State University.

"Dr. Lewis is a long-time friend of higher education, East Central University and Ada," said ECU President John Hargrave. "He brings a wealth of experience and is a perfect fit to immediately take the reigns. I think his contacts and experience will open many doors and opportunities to our students."

At UNK Lewis helped raise $9.7 million for a new college of education building. One of his tasks at ECU will be to help finalize fundraising for a new school of business and conference center.

Additional highlights of his career include securing the entire Lawrence Welk collection of music, television shows, photos and memorabilia for a repository on the NDSU campus and obtaining corporate sponsorship from Eastman Kodak for three years for the Hula Bowl to ensure its continuation.

He also helped coordinate a visit by President Bill Clinton to the campus in Kearney where Clinton outlined plans for a new foreign policy.

Most recently, Lewis was a performance and executive leadership coach with Waste Management Inc. in Houston, Texas, and the Gallup Organization in Omaha, Neb.

Lewis has a bachelor of arts degree in history and speech and a master of science degree in school counseling from ECU.

"ECU launched me. I love the place," he said. "I am a graduate of Stratford High School and the first in my family to attend college."

Lewis earned a doctorate in higher education administration from the University of Oklahoma and has also done postgraduate study in clinical psychology at Oklahoma State University.

Before beginning his career in higher education, he was the principal of Ada Junior High School.

Lewis and his wife Suzanne have six children.

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