April 05, 2007

Cotton to lead College of Science fundraising effort

by Greg Scott


George R. Cotton Sr.

CARBONDALE, Ill. — A West Helena, Ark., native with a diverse professional background has been hired to lead fundraising efforts for Southern Illinois University Carbondale's College of Science.

George R. Cotton Sr. assumed the role of associate director of institutional advancement for the College of Science on March 26. He will organize, coordinate and administer strategies to enhance development efforts for the college.

Cotton will work in support of SIUC's current goal to secure more than $100 million during its first comprehensive campaign, Opportunity Through Excellence, which seeks to raise funds supporting the people, places, and programs of the University.

"Southern Illinois University Carbondale has presented me with a unique opportunity to influence the lives of our students, in addition to serving alumni and friends of this institution," Cotton said. "I am eager to build on relationships that can only enhance a wealth of success already attained by the College of Science and SIUC.

"I look forward to the opportunity to expand on the University's rich tradition and reputation."

A two-degree graduate of Arkansas State University, Cotton spent the last 24 years of his professional career serving various non-profit organizations in St. Louis. He joins SIUC's staff after completing a three-year stint as executive director of R.E.A.C.H., a St. Louis-based HIV/AIDS advocacy center. Cotton's career also includes tenures as professional development facilitator to the St. Louis public schools, urban youth specialist with the University of Missouri Extension Service, and executive director of the Greater East St. Louis Community Foundation.

Also, Cotton's fundraising background includes 15 years of experience in grant writing, event management, and donor identification. He is a nationally recognized motivational speaker and lecturer, and has conducted independent research in parts of South Africa, Mexico and Canada. Cotton received a bachelor's degree in commercial art in 1980, and a master's degree in political science in 1982, both from Arkansas State University.

Jeff Lorber, associate vice chancellor for institutional advancement at SIUC, said Cotton's knowledge base will assist the University in garnering additional private support.
"George brings a wealth of experience and ability that compliment our development staff very well," Lorber says. "He is an outstanding professional who has demonstrated a high level of success at various non-profit organizations. George will be a strong asset as we strive to develop relationships for the College of Science and SIUC."