Austin College President Steven O’Day has announced that Gillian Grissom Locke is the College’s new vice president for Institutional Advancement. She had held the role of interim vice president for several months and had worked since 2016 as associate vice president for Institutional Advancement and executive director of leadership gifts.
“Gillian’s experiences at Austin College and in prior professional roles have contributed to her deep understanding of relationships, data, and the workings of Austin College,” O’Day said. “She believes strongly in the power of education, and as a graduate of Austin College, has great confidence in the types of experiences Austin College delivers to students. I look forward to continued work with Gillian to secure the investments that will ensure Austin College’s success for years to come.”
The vice president serves as a member of the College’s Senior Leadership Team in addition to leading the Institutional Advancement Division, which is the fundraising arm of the College. The division also includes the staffs of alumni engagement, stewardship, planned giving, and development services.
Upon graduating from Austin College in 2007, Locke joined Goldman Sachs as a financial analyst. After two years there, she spent a year as grants manager at the nonprofit Laying the Foundation. She completed a master’s degree in public policy at Duke University in 2012 and spent three years with Public Impact, an education policy consulting firm based in North Carolina.
In 2014, she and her husband, Thomas, who graduated from Austin College in 2004, returned to Texas. Soon after, Gillian joined Communities Foundation of Texas in Dallas as a community philanthropy officer and then made the move to Austin College in September 2016.
“As an alumna, I am extra motivated to spread my excitement about the College to donors and alumni,” Locke said. “Having the connection of a shared alma mater with our alumni donors is truly special. Equally special is connecting with our non-alumni donors who share a passion for Austin College and providing truly life-changing opportunities to students … I never have to wonder why I am getting out of bed in the morning.”
Her own journey is very much a part of her philosophy. “I don’t think I understood how much my Austin College education gave me until I entered the ‘real world’ after graduating,” she said. “I had a strong analytical grounding but also the interest in and respect for a variety of perspectives that you encounter during a liberal arts education—and I could synthesize and communicate that with clarity. Putting what I learned at Austin College into practice helped me fully understand the value of my educational experience here, and I am thrilled to play a part in making it possible for future generations.”
Austin College, a private national liberal arts college located north of Dallas in Sherman, Texas, has earned a reputation for excellence in academic preparation, international study, pre-professional foundations, leadership development, committed faculty, and hands-on, adventurous learning opportunities. One of 40 schools profiled in Loren Pope’s influential book Colleges That Change Lives, Austin College boasts a welcoming community that embraces diversity and individuality, with more than 50% of students identifying as persons of color. The residential student body of approximately 1,300 students and more than 100 expert faculty members allow a 13:1 student-faculty ratio and personalized attention. Related by covenant to the Presbyterian Church (USA), Austin College cultivates an inclusive atmosphere that supports students’ faith journeys regardless of religious tradition. The College, founded in 1849, is the oldest institution of higher education in Texas operating under original name and charter.