Brian Hastings, a senior executive at Ohio State University, has been named president and CEO of the University of Nebraska Foundation.
The foundation’s board of directors approved Hastings’ appointment Friday.
The decision comes more than five months after the abrupt departure of the foundation’s former president and CEO, Clarence Castner. The foundation never offered an explanation for Castner’s departure, though Castner told the Omaha World-Herald he had philosophical differences with Peter Whitted, chairman of the foundation's board of directors.
On Friday, Whitted praised Hastings’ experience at a Big Ten peer institution.
“He has helped lead not only one of the most successful development teams for a public, land-grant institution, but also one of the most successful fundraising campaigns,” Whitted said in a news release.
Hastings brings more than two decades of experience in higher education fundraising. He most recently served as executive director of Ohio State’s $2.5 billion fundraising campaign, in addition to his duties as senior associate vice president at the university.
The foundation’s board voted unanimously to accept the search committee’s recommendation to name Hastings to the position. Whitted said a nationwide search elicited applicants from Nebraska and major institutions around the country.
Jim McClurg, chairman of the NU Board of Regents, said he was glad the foundation was able to find someone so experienced.
“Our foundation has such great momentum and means so much to our university,” he said. “I’m just grateful to find someone who really is such a good fit, and I have the highest expectations for continued success.”
University President James B. Milliken, who served on the search committee, said Hastings will help lead the foundation forward at a time when private support is becoming increasingly critical to the university.
“His current senior role in a very large organization with lead responsibility for a $2.5 billion dollar campaign speaks volumes about the confidence university and foundation leadership have in him,” Milliken said. “He has the management experience, fundraising success, and Midwestern values the search committee and foundation board felt were critical. Brian will be a good fit in Nebraska.”
An NU Foundation fundraising campaign begun in 2005 and scheduled to end in 2014 has raised more than $1.2 billion.
The foundation’s total assets, as of June 30, were about $1.8 billion. The vast majority of the foundation’s assets are endowed gifts given by donors for specific programs at the university. John Gottschalk, former publisher of the World-Herald, has been leading the foundation in the interim while the CEO search was being conducted.
Hastings and his wife, Sharon, have two young children. He plans to begin his duties in early fall.
“As a first-generation college graduate and lifelong Midwesterner, I am truly humbled by this opportunity to work with the outstanding foundation staff in service to the university and the citizens of Nebraska,” Hasting said. “I was impressed with the great accomplishments occurring on each of the four campuses, inspired by the leadership and commitment of the volunteers, and warmed by the incredible sense of pride exhibited by everyone.
“I look forward to working with alumni, friends, faculty and staff in realizing the unlimited possibilities that lie ahead in the Campaign for Nebraska and beyond.”