Kent State Announces Jeff McLain as University’s New Vice President for Institutional Advancement

Photo of Jeff McLainKent State University has named Jeffery L. McLain, CFRE, as its new vice president for institutional advancement following an extensive national search. McLain comes to Kent State from Louisiana State University where he served as senior vice president of the LSU Foundation. He joins Kent State on May 15. 

The Division of Institutional Advancement includes the offices of advancement and alumni relations as well as the Kent State University Foundation. The division plays a critical role in building relationships with alumni and friends to support the vision and mission of the university.

“I believe that Jeff McLain is an outstanding choice for Kent State at this time,” said Kent State President Beverly Warren. “Jeff brings deep experience from three prior institutions, and I believe he will leverage that experience to advance our goals of increasing fundraising and alumni engagement. He has also had experience with capital campaigns, which will be critical as we frame the parameters of campaign readiness and our launch of the next comprehensive campaign for Kent State.”  

McLain expressed his enthusiasm for joining the Kent State community.

“I look forward to partnering with President Warren, the institutional advancement team and the Kent State family as we engage our alumni and friends to advance the mission of the university and its many campuses,” McLain said. “The Kent State alumni I know speak fondly of their time at Kent. I can’t wait to join the team.”

Warren thanked Steve Sokany, who has held the position of interim vice president for institutional advancement since Aug. 1, 2014.

“With gratitude and deep appreciation, I want to acknowledge and thank Steve Sokany for his leadership and dedication to Kent State,” Warren said. “He has provided needed continuity and expertise as interim vice president through this time of transition, and he will provide instrumental leadership for the future as executive associate vice president and director of board relations. In this capacity, Steve will coordinate the Kent State Foundation Board volunteer activities and will play a key leadership role in principal gift engagement.”

McLain also served as the LSU Foundation’s vice president for development from 2005 until his promotion to senior vice president in 2013. During his tenure, LSU’s fundraising highlights included the successful completion of a $750-million campaign, new records in annual giving and implementation of a principal gift program.

Prior to joining LSU, McLain was associate vice chancellor for institutional advancement for the Texas Tech University System. He also spent 15 years at the University of Texas at Austin directing various alumni relations and corporate, major gift and annual giving programs. He is active in professional and community organizations including service as a member of the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) International Board of Trustees, District IV Representative from 2011-2014. He holds the Certified Fundraising Executive (CFRE) designation. CFRE certifies experienced fundraising professionals aspiring to the highest standards of ethics, competence and service to the philanthropic sector.

McLain earned his Master of Mass Communication degree from LSU and a Bachelor of Arts in English from Baylor University. 

McLain, his wife, Leah, and family will be moving to the Kent, Ohio, area from their current home in southern Louisiana.

For more information about Kent State’s Division of Institutional Advancement visit

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Media Contacts:
Eric Mansfield,, 330-672-2797
Emily Vincent,, 330-672-8595

POSTED: Monday, April 20, 2015 - 10:44am
UPDATED: Friday, January 11, 2019 - 4:23pm
University Communications and Marketing