FAYETTEVILLE, ARK. – Mitchell Spearman of Fayetteville, Ark. and formerly of Saluda County is the new director of development for the Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences. Spearman assumed his new duties Monday, and he reports jointly to Mike Vayda, dean of the Bumpers College, and Mark Power, assistant vice chancellor for university development. Spearman also has planned giving liaison duties with the Arkansas Alumni Association.
“We are thrilled to welcome Mitchell to the Bumpers College family,” said Vayda. “As we work to further engage our alumni and friends, it is critical that we have a passionate and knowledgeable fund raising professional to lead the way. Mitchell’s background in agriculture, his love for the university and his sincere interest in getting to know people make him the ideal person to fill that role. We are excited for the future of Bumpers College.”
“I am very excited to have the opportunity to join Dean Vayda’s team and to partner with the outstanding faculty, staff and students of the Bumpers College,” said Spearman. “The research and study of food, family and environmental issues are very relevant and important to every family in Arkansas and, quite frankly, the nation and world. Growing up on my family’s farm in South Carolina has given me a bird’s eye view to the innovation, entrepreneurial spirit and commitment of America’s family farmers. I will work tirelessly to promote the successes and innovation at the college and reconnect our wonderful Bumpers family, including our alumni, emeritus faculty and our special friends, to our important mission to make a meaningful impact on countless lives.”
Spearman’s interest in fund raising began during law school, when he worked to raise money to help law students affected by Hurricane Katrina. He says it changed his life, and he could not imagine doing anything else. His love for agriculture, however, dates back much further.
“Mitchell’s heart is in agriculture, and he is a wonderful spokesman for the agriculture industry,” said Connie Lake, Saluda County extension agent. “From a 4-H Club member to State 4-H Council president in South Carolina to the position he now holds at the University of Arkansas, Mitchell has been a leader for 4-H. I am thankful to have had him as a 4-H member in Saluda County.”
Before joining the University of Arkansas staff in 2011 as a director of planned giving, Spearman served as the assistant vice president of gift planning and major gifts at Drexel University in Philadelphia, Pa.
There, he planned, managed and coordinated the marketing and development of the planned giving and major gift solicitation for the university.
Prior to his role at Drexel, Spearman worked as the assistant director and then the director of gift planning at Presbyterian College in Clinton. Spearman’s prior experience included working for Sen. Strom Thurmond and as a law clerk for the South Carolina House of Representatives.
“Mitchell has done an outstanding job since joining the development team last year,” said Power. “He has a gift for making people feel like they’ve known him forever, and I look forward to working with him in this new capacity. His new, primary responsibilities to the college and the continuation of his relationship with the alumni association make this a win-win for the university and for our alumni and friends.”
Spearman holds a bachelor’s degree from Presbyterian College and a Juris Doctor from the University of South Carolina School of Law.