Meredith McCrary to lead in new role as AVP of Development
Describes the 'true measure of success in philanthropic fundraising'
An outstanding performer in philanthropic fundraising at the University of St. Thomas-Houston, a UST alumna, and a St. Thomas legacy family member, Meredith McCrary ’03 steps up to her new role as Associate Vice President of Development at UST.
Vice President for University Advancement and Chief Development Officer Dawn Koenning called McCrary’s new role “well-deserved,” saying, “Meredith has a track record for raising major gifts and has been a strategic, loyal and invaluable leader of this team. Her hard work has absolutely contributed to our success. Throughout the past decade, she has consistently demonstrated outstanding leadership, extraordinary commitment to the mission, and a passion for moving UST and University Advancement forward.”
20 Years of Fundraising Experience
McCrary’s two-decade career in fundraising has been star-studded.
“I have had the privilege of working at some of Houston’s most deserving nonprofits, including Rice University, The Health Museum, Houston Grand Opera, Houston Methodist Hospital Foundation and St. Luke’s Hospital,” she said. “Before I joined UST 10 years ago, I spent most of my career in the Texas Medical Center, raising major gifts for research, education and patient care.”
Two UST Alumnae Cross Paths
During that first half of her career, McCrary’s path crossed that of former UST Vice President for Institutional Advancement Cynthia Riley, MLA ’95, a veteran fundraiser. Riley would become McCrary’s mentor and recruit her to join the Advancement team at UST as director for the University’s record-breaking “Faith in Our Future” campaign.
A Passion Fueled by Gratitude
For McCrary, her passion to fundraise for UST comes naturally. She is motivated by the gratitude she will always feel for the scholarship that helped pay her way to earn UST degrees in English and Communication.
She recalled, “A generous scholarship made it possible for me to be a part of this incredible community, and it truly transformed my life. Having personally experienced the transformative power of giving through a scholarship, I believe I am uniquely positioned to convey the significance of philanthropy to our donors.”
An Appreciation for the Keys to Successful Fundraising
In this role, McCrary will lead UST’s major gifts team. The team plays a crucial role in securing support for the University and engaging individuals in its mission. The team also works closely with University leadership and faculty to identify fundraising priorities and involve them in the philanthropic process.
She spotlights collaboration as being at the heart of UST fundraising, saying, “Every member of the University Advancement team shares my deep enthusiasm for supporting UST and its students. The University has ambitious goals, which will require substantial philanthropic support. I commit to working closely with the entire team, harnessing our collective energy, and maximizing our fundraising efforts.”
Another key — one she calls “the true measure of fundraising success” — is about building genuine relationships.
McCrary explained, “The true measure of success in this field lies in fostering lasting relationships and garnering renewed commitments to the causes we serve. One such meaningful relationship that exemplifies this is my friendship with Michele Malloy, a former chair of UST's board of directors. Our connection began while I was serving as the Annual Fund Manager at Houston Grand Opera, and Michele chaired our Annual Fund Committee. Over the years, our collaboration has extended to UST. And we have fostered an enduring professional and personal connection.”
Supporting UST Is a Family Affair
McCrary and her husband Ben share two sons, Deacon and Reid. They live in Sugar Land and are part of a UST legacy family. McCrary’s sister and brother-in-law Danielle ’97 and Miguel Herrera ’97 and Miguel’s brother Emiliano Herrera ’06 are all Celt alumni. Together, they share a vision of making the world a better place.
“As UST students, we were taught the power of getting involved and making the world a better place,” she said. “Attending and supporting UST is definitely a fun, family affair, and I see fundraising as my way to contribute meaningfully to our community and the Church."
Over the years, McCrary has witnessed the University’s evolution through various phases, each one building upon the last.
She said, “It’s been an incredible journey, and I am honored to have played a small part in shaping where the University stands today and where it’s heading.”
Koenning affirmed, “We thank Meredith for continuing to choose her alma mater as her ‘work family’ and for blessing each of us daily!”