Marcus D. Ward, Ed.D.

Vice President for Institutional Advancement

Alcorn State University

Dr. Marcus Ward is the Vice President for Institutional Advancement and Executive Director of the Alcorn State University Foundation, Inc. at Alcorn State University. As a non-traditional higher education leader, Dr. Ward continues to excel as a collaborative chief development officer, external relations head, and senior university administrator. Since his return in 2009 and being named Vice President in 2011, Alcorn State has scaled its enrollment, brand identity, academic profile, and student experience and transformed itself into a dynamic, nationally recognized institution on multiple fronts.

As a trusted leader under nine presidents over 15 years, Dr. Ward has helped sustain the university’s growth and operations, allowing it to accelerate its progress seamlessly through the creation of a single, integrated university advancement and institutional affairs office. Previously, he was chief of staff and associate vice president for development and alumni affairs at the university. Ward has a demonstrated history of sourcing and securing over $200 Million in total funding (i.e. private donations, state and federal appropriations, non-formula-based grants, etc.) for higher education, nonprofits, and governmental entities.

Dr. Ward and his team have directly led a 450% growth rate from $9 million in 2009 to over $50 million in assets and funds under management today by the University Foundation. He has overseen the granting of over $5 million in scholarships and educational funding assistance to more than 3,500 students and supported over 100 faculty and staff with research and intellectual renewal projects.

Dr. Ward has served on the university’s executive cabinet and worked closely with its governing boards and authorities. He is a much sought-after facilitator, panelist, and contributor in the areas of higher education policy, HBCU sustainability, resource development, and organizational management. Dr. Ward leads and serves on local, state, national, and international boards that influence and shape the future of higher education and nonprofits.

Ward has cultivated an impressive higher education leadership profile completing the institutional education management program at the Harvard University Graduate School of Education, is a Higher Education Leadership Foundation Fellow – Xi Cohort and is a fellow of the HBCU Executive Leadership Institute in Atlanta.

His diverse areas of expertise include student support, fiscal affairs, marketing and communication, government affairs, intercollegiate athletics, philanthropy, university affiliated foundations, and strategic partnerships. Additional interests, research, and scholarship include examination of the intersectionality of higher education governance with executive administrator experience and background, place-based and community engagement initiatives, and executive leadership strategies that support institutional sustainability and student success.

Dr. Ward is a Lilly School of Philanthropy certified fund raising manager. He played a leading role in securing the largest single cash gift in institutional history – the $25 Million Alcorn Forever Fund from Ms. McKenzie Scott in 2020, which more than doubled the university’s endowment.

Ward served as chief of staff for the City of Jackson, Mississippi where he collaborated on over $1 billion in economic development projects and helped oversee nearly 2,000 employees. He received a Bachelor of Science degree from Alcorn State University and studied at Princeton University’s School of International Studies before completing a master’s in public administration at Syracuse University and earning a Doctor of Education in higher education leadership from the Maryville University of Saint Louis.