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Q&A with Shannon Tuininga, New VP for Institutional Advancement

When did you first start at King’s?

I arrived as a student in 1998. After I completed my degree in environmental studies and business, I had the opportunity to serve as an admissions counsellor for six years. I recruited primarily in Canada, but also made trips to the US, China, and South Korea. I joined the fundraising team in 2009 where I eventually served as associate director and director of development. In November 2019, after an extensive interview process, I was given a contract for the position of vice president for advancement.

What role does VP Advancement play?

My portfolio includes student recruitment, fundraising, community relations (alumni, parents, and churches), and marketing. Because success in Advancement is directly linked to the financial health of the university I certainly feel some pressure, but I work with talented people who are incredibly good at what they do.

What are proud of in your career?

I would say my ability to take on responsibilities outside of my comfort zone. I consider myself an introvert, so given my externally-focused role, you can imagine how I’ve had to push myself! I am thankful that I have overcome my fears and now have the privilege to serve this university in a new capacity.

What are some of the opportunities you see for King’s moving forward?

King’s has an important role in serving our communities. I hope to see existing relationships with churches strengthened and new relationships of mutual service developed. A university like King’s contributes to the strength and vibrancy of the Christian church by working alongside congregations, schools, and businesses – equipping new leaders to serve well.

What important challenges does King’s needs to address?

Ensuring tuition levels remain as affordable as possible. Recent changes in provincial
government and a sluggish Alberta economy have resulted in significant alterations to our funding model. Financial support from our community is as important today as it was 40 years ago and I pray that our community – including our growing community of 5,000+ alumni – will continue to
see the value of this place.

What do you like most about King’s?

What first attracted me to King’s as a high school student continues to animate my work here today. I have such an appreciation for how Christian university is done here. When I considered where I wanted to study as a student, I had no interest in attending a university where I would be instructed on what to think more than how to think. King’s offered an experience where I could be engaged in a community that enhanced my faith and challenged me to explore what it meant to be a Christian in all aspects of my life. At King’s I was able to thoughtfully explore and examine questions of faith, ethics, morality, stewardship, truth, and responsibility. I grew up in a home infused with Christianity and my parents prioritized sharing their faith with their children. King’s complimented a faith first instilled in me in my youth. My faith became my own and deeply rooted as part of who I am, in part thanks to King’s!

What are you most looking forward to in your new position?

I feel privileged to serve King’s as VP of advancement. I enjoy the broad focus of the role and the diversity of people I get to work with. King’s has so much potential and many exciting plans that need funding. I look forward to securing major gifts for the Centre for Excellence in the Sciences, and continuing to find alignment between charitable interests and the work of the Academic Enrichment and Micah Centres. I am energized to work with the teams in my division to implement plans and strategies that move King’s forward.

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