The University Foundation announced Thursday longtime foundation president Cherí O’Neill is leaving the university.
Jean Crosby, the vice president for strategy, engagement and communications was named interim president in her stead.
O’Neill, who is a Ball State alumna, served as the Foundation president for nearly six years. During her time, O’Neill said it was meaningful to reach fundraising milestones and speak at national conferences.
“I worked first and foremost to build a team, a supportive culture, to help people grow and thrive and dream bigger toward a common goal: more gifts of time, talent and treasure for Ball State,” O’Neill said through the Foundation’s associate vice president of communications DeAnna May.
“I cherished the opportunity to give back to the school that gave so much to me. I had a passion and vision for something that would help Ball State, something that would elevate engagement, philanthropy and stewardship to new levels. I dreamed of a university where philanthropy and giving back were part of the culture. I hope I’ve made meaningful strides in that direction.”
O’Neill will now work for the Colorado State University Foundation, a change she said was unexpected.
“Departing my alma mater was not something I had planned. It was definitely unexpected. Having returned full circle to Ball State, I thought this would be the final chapter in my career,” O’Neill said. “But our university has always prepared us to recognize opportunities and take on new challenges. That is just part of our DNA — to always spread our wings and fly.”
Crosby, Muncie native and Ball State alumna, will now serve as interim president while the Foundation board leads a search for new president.
“My goal during this interim period is to continue the momentum we’ve built over the past several years so that when a permanent replacement is named, we are handing off a high functioning team that is laser focused on the goals in front of us,” Crosby said through a statement again provided by May.
Though the timeline and scope of the presidential search have yet to be determined, O’Neill left some parting advice for whoever is chosen.
“Enjoy the work and never forget why it is important: to help Ball State thrive and succeed today and into the future,” she said. “It provides those additional resources that help make the university and student experience not only good, but great.”
Contact Brynn Mechem with comments at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @BrynnMechem.