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Robb Jeffries, Forum News Service, Published August 27 2013

UND Alumni Association names new leader

GRAND FORKS – The University of North Dakota Alumni Association and Foundation on Tuesday named DeAnna Carlson Zink as its next CEO and executive vice president in the Gorecki Alumni Center.

Carlson Zink has worked for the association for 25 years, most recently as the chief development officer and associate vice president.

She will assume her new role in April, following the retirement of outgoing CEO Tim O’Keefe, who has served as CEO and executive vice president for the past 11 years. She will be the first woman to hold the post, and the sixth CEO in the group’s history.

O’Keefe credited Carlson Zink with being a key leader in the North Dakota Spirit Campaign, a fundraising drive that has netted the organization more than $310 million in donations.

“I have so much confidence in her ability to lead this organization because I’ve experienced her passion and drive every day of the 11 years we have worked together,” he said. “DeAnna’s the right person at the right time. She has spent her entire career preparing for this moment.”

UND President Robert Kelley said selecting Carlson Zink became easier as the search process progressed.

“It became very clear that the best leadership was right here,” he said.

Carlson Zink is a 1986 graduate of UND, and began working for the alumni association that year. Despite holding several fundraising positions, she said O’Keefe has set the bar high for her.

“Time has not only raised the bar for our organization, but for philanthropy in our state and within higher education,” she said in a news release. “I am excited to build on this strong foundation and to continue to elevate our organization to a position of sustainable excellence for the benefit of the University of North Dakota.”