By Beth Giudicessi
The Arizona State University Foundation for a New American University announced today that long-time fundraiser Gretchen Buhlig has been named chief executive officer of the organization, effective July 1.
Buhlig served as chief operating officer and managing director of the ASU Foundation, a non-profit organization that raises and invests private support to advance the mission of its affiliated university. She will continue to work closely with Rick Shangraw, CEO of the parent organization to the ASU Foundation, ASU Enterprise Partners, and other distinct private non-profit resource-raising companies formerly housed within it.
Buhlig brings two decades of donor cultivation and stewardship experience to the position, including close relationships built over her 15 years in leadership roles supporting ASU.
"Gretchen deeply understands the unique value of this university and how meaningful it is when a donor is able to connect with a student, researcher or program to support what he or she loves," said ASU President Michael M. Crow. "We’re grateful for her leadership and for the contributions the ASU Foundation makes to the progress of Arizona State."
Under the guidance of Shangraw and Buhlig, the ASU Foundation broke fundraising records for the past three years and expanded givers to include more than 100,000 individual, corporate and foundation donors.
In January 2017, they oversaw the launch of Campaign ASU 2020, ASU’s first comprehensive fundraising effort during Crow’s tenure. At the time of the campaign’s public unveiling, it had secured two-thirds of its goal to raise at least $1.5 billion by 2020.
Buhlig is credited with shaping the ASU Foundation’s 2025 Strategic Plan alongside representatives from across the development staff. She increased collaboration amongst deans and fundraising volunteers, and lead growth of the ASU Foundation’s engagement programs, including President’s Club and Women & Philanthropy, which she helped found.
“Gretchen’s insight, warmth and deep commitment to increasing student access and excellence at ASU and across the community is evident in all she does,” said Chairman of the ASU Foundation Board of Directors and former Chairman and CEO of Pinnacle West Capital Corporation William Post. “We are better for it. ASU is better for it. Phoenix is better for it. The influence of her work and the work of ASU’s generous donors goes far beyond that.”
“By building on years of work by our development staff and continuing the momentum of the newly-launched Campaign ASU 2020, it is a more exciting time than ever to accelerate our efforts to foster a culture of philanthropy at the university,” said Shangraw.
Buhlig previously served as associate vice president of institutional advancement for A.T. Still University. She is a graduate of Augustana College and Walden University.
“It is my honor to lead an outstanding team of passionate fundraisers who are eager to connect with our supporters in the community,” said Buhlig. “In the spirit of the New American University, we are implementing new ideas from within an atmosphere of invention to create and sustain the resources that enable ASU’s research, teaching and learning. I look forward to building on our tremendous energy to continue strengthening that important work.”