PULLMAN, Wash.–Two Washington State University administrators have been given additional responsibilities and new titles, effectively immediately, WSU President Samuel Smith announced Thursday.
Connie Kravas, associate vice president for university advancement, has been named vice president for university advancement. In her new position, she will have responsibility for both the WSU Foundation and for the Alumni Association. She will participate more fully in institutional planning, forging closer ties between development, alumni relations and WSU’s academic mission, Smith said.
Thomas “Les” Purce, vice president for extended university affairs, has been given the additional title of dean for extended academic programs, recognizing the crucial role of WSU’s Extended Degree Program and the new learning centers in delivering a quality WSU education statewide. He will also assume administrative responsibility for WSU’s Research and Technology Park, which has important outreach functions to the business and agricultural communities, the president said.
“Both Connie and Les have made exceptional contributions in advancing WSU’s priorities. These promotions acknowledge their accomplishments and position them to make even greater contributions,” Smith said in making the announcement.
Kravas has led the university’s first comprehensive fund-raising effort, Campaign WSU, to a successful conclusion, with gifts to the university well exceeding the $250 million goal. Among its results, the campaign has increased WSU’s scholarship endowment from $14.8 million to more than $43 million, established dozens of endowed professorships to attract and retain top faculty, and provided modern equipment for teaching and research.
“Private support for WSU is growing in importance, and who better to lead our efforts than the individual who has built the WSU Foundation into the great success it is today,” Smith said. “In this new configuration, we will look to Connie to help WSU draw on the combined strengths of our loyal alumni and friends in helping move WSU forward.”
The president noted that, during his two years at WSU, Purce had helped WSU make major strides in its extended educational services. WSU’s first six learning centers have been established, and new partnerships with community colleges and Native American tribal colleges have been forged. Enrollment in the statewide Extended Degree Program during that time has grown more than 80 percent, including expansion into the Puget Sound area.
In addition, WSU is gaining wide recognition for its use of technology to deliver distance education, and WSU educational technology staff members are involved in planning the state’s K-20 network.
“This additional role for Dr. Purce will provide a valuable linkage between our academic colleges and our extended education programs,” said WSU Provost Gretchen Bataille.
“These two changes give us a more efficient structure to pursue the educational delivery goals of the university, and to integrate planning and fund-raising,” the president said. This is vital to the continued development of distance learning, including establishment of new degree programs.
Kravas, 51, earned her doctoral degree from WSU in 1974, the same year she joined the faculty. Following experience in the Office of Grant and Research Development and then in development, Kravas was named executive director of development and president of the WSU Foundation in 1981. She was promoted to associate vice president in 1991.
Purce, 50, earned his doctoral degree from Idaho State University in 1975. He has wide experience in government, private business and higher education, the latter at both ISU and at the Evergreen State College where he served as vice president for college advancement, interim president and executive vice president. He joined WSU in 1995.

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