Cuesta College picks chief fundraiser

Shannon Hill has been named the executive director of the Cuesta College Foundation and Institutional Advancement.

Hill, who has more than 12 years of nonprofit and educational leadership experience, will start Monday. The Cuesta board of trustees approved her three-year contract and $101,148 annual salary last week.

She replaces interim executive director Barbara George, who has filled that post since September 2010 when former director June Stephens resigned from the job to take a similar job with Citrus College in Glendora.

Hill most recently spent 10 years at Cal State Bakersfield, where she was the director of alumni relations. She is credited with enhancing board cohesion and leadership there and doubling the advancement department’s operating budget.

The Cuesta College Foundation, the nonprofit fundraising arm of the college, contributes about $2 million to the college annually.

Those funds are often used to backfill needs that the college’s general fund can not meet. Most recently the foundation spent more than $73,000 upgrading the college’s Humanities Forum, one of three large lecture halls.

“There are many of our teaching and learning facilities that are so old that they are not prepared to teach students in real-world technologies,” George said. “The humanities forum, which holds about 150 students, was operating on a 40-year-old platform.”

George said the importance of the foundation is continually growing as state budget cuts make it harder for community colleges to provide what students need.

“We need to be making a bigger impact,” George said. “Under Shannon’s leadership new goals will be set and we want to increase what we give the college by at least 50 percent.”

Hill has a bachelor’s degree in fine arts from the University of Tennessee and a master’s degree in arts administration focused on community arts.