If you have volunteered for one of our pledge drives or attended a KPR event, chances are you know Sheri Hamilton, who worked at KPR for 18 years. Sheri is now at the University of Kansas Endowment Association, doing development work for the Dole Institute of Politics, but she is still a big part of the Kansas Public Radio family. We asked her to put together a brief history of her time at the station, as well as an update on her current position.
I started working at the station, then known as KANU, as Membership Coordinator in September of 1997. Our small development department soon became a staff of one, and I was appointed to serve as Interim Development Director for the following year and a half. Already an NPR devotee and a recent graduate from KU with degrees in Political Science and German, I relied on KANU for national and international news coverage, and was excited to be working at the NPR affiliate station.
In my early days at KANU, the station experienced steady growth in membership, listenership and geographic reach. In 2002, KANU changed its name to Kansas Public Radio to better reflect the regional reach of the station, and in 2003 the station moved into its new and current state-of-the-art facility on the KU campus. During this time, I held a variety of positions in the development department and was promoted in 2008 to serve as Development Director. For the next seven years, I led the station’s development team which was responsible for increasing membership and underwriting revenue, managing external communications, facilitating estate gifts and producing KPR’s on-air fundraisers. I had the fortune of working with an incredibly talented staff, and together we expanded fundraising efforts and increased revenues for KPR.
Ready for a new challenge, I accepted a position at KU Endowment to serve as the Associate Development Director for the Robert J. Dole Institute of Politics in the spring of 2015. I was drawn to continue my work in development at the University of Kansas with the Dole Institute not only because of my love of politics, but because of my immense respect for Senator Dole and the Institute’s mission to promote political and civic participation and civil discourse in a bi-partisan philosophically balanced manner.
In my current position, I focus my time primarily on raising funds for the Dole Institute. I thoroughly enjoy engaging in conversations that inform people about the Institute’s public programs and exhibits, the mission of promoting bipartisan civil discourse and the remarkable opportunities the Dole Institute provides to KU students. While I spend most of my time in Kansas, I also travel regularly to Washington, D.C., New York City or anywhere I can engage in a conversation about supporting and preserving the legacy of Senator Dole and the Dole Institute.
Since my tenure at KU Endowment, I have been invited to serve as an ex-officio member of KPR’s Advisory Board and appointed as the KPR Development Liaison to KU Endowment. I welcome the opportunity to remain involved with KPR because it enriches and informs thousands of people in our region, and because the continued success of KPR personally means a lot to me. I’ve been a proud Jayhawk for 25 years now, and I look forward to serving KU, KPR and the Dole Institute in the years to come.