Leadership


Lynette Marshall

President and Chief Executive Officer

Lynette Marshall is president and chief executive officer of the University of Iowa Center for Advancement and leads the organization’s mission to advance the University of Iowa through engagement and philanthropy. During her tenure, the organization has experienced record performance and growth and become a national leader in creating a campus culture of philanthropy.

Lynette provides leadership to several national groups, including the Association of Governing Boards, the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE), and the CASE 50 Steering Committee. In 2017, she received the CASE Commonfund Award, which recognizes individuals who have made valuable contributions to the field through best practices, distinguished service, and volunteer leadership. In 2020, CASE honored her with the Frank L. Ashmore Award for Service to CASE and the Advancement Profession.

Lynette came to Iowa in 2006 after 25 years in fundraising at her alma mater, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, including two years as associate chancellor for development. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in agricultural science and a master’s in educational policy studies. Lynette grew up on a fifth-generation family farm near Peoria, Illinois. She and her husband, Jeffery Ford, have two adult children, Michael and Katharine.


Sheila Baldwin

Senior Vice President for Health Sciences Development

As senior vice president for Health Sciences Development, Sheila oversees fundraising for University of Iowa Health Care—which includes the UI Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine, UI Hospitals & Clinics, and UI Stead Family Children’s Hospital—as well as the Colleges of Dentistry and Dental Clinics, Nursing, Pharmacy, and Public Health. Raising funds for the UI since 1999, Baldwin has served in several positions in health sciences development, most recently as chief fundraiser for UI Stead Family Children’s Hospital. She received a bachelor’s degree from the UI Henry B. Tippie College of Business and, as a student, was a founding member of UI Dance Marathon.


Sherri Furman

Senior Vice President for Finance and Operations

As senior vice president for Finance and Operations, Sherri is responsible for overseeing Finance, Investments, Information Technology and Facilities. Sherri joined the organization in 1999 and has been providing financial leadership for more than 20 years as both Chief Financial Officer and Controller. Sherri has a unique understanding of the business of advancement, while leveraging a background in accounting, business operations, and financial systems. She received her bachelor’s degree in accounting from the UI Henry B. Tippie College of Business, is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), an active member of both the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and the Iowa Society of Certified Public Accountants (ISCPA).


Diane Brownlee

Vice President for Legal

As vice president for Legal, Diane is responsible for overseeing general legal work and providing legal guidance and solutions to support the organization’s mission of advancing the University of Iowa through engagement and philanthropy. Diane joined the organization in 2012. She has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Nebraska Kearney and a Juris Doctor from the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law. She served as a law clerk for the Hon. Laura D. Stith, former judge of the Supreme Court of Missouri, and immediately prior to joining the UI Center for Advancement was the contracts manager, clinical trials office, at Oregon Health & Science University. She is a member of the bar in Iowa, Missouri, and Oregon.


Kent Clark

Vice President for Main Campus Development, Data Analytics

As vice president for Main Campus Development, Kent oversees fundraising for the UI Department of Intercollegiate Athletics and six academic colleges (Henry B. Tippie College of Business, Graduate College, and the Colleges of Law, Engineering, Education, and Liberal Arts and Sciences). He also supervises fundraising for noncollegiate programs (UI Libraries, the UI Stanley Museum of Art, Hancher, Division of Student Life, International Programs, and Regional Major Gifts). In addition to managing frontline fundraising, Kent oversees the Department of Constituent Insights and Analytics, which includes Data Analytics and Prospect Research and Development.

Before joining the organization in 2015, Kent served in advancement executive roles at Minnesota State University, Mankato; California State University, Fresno; and Utah State University. He received a bachelor’s degree in agricultural economics from Michigan State University and a master’s in biblical studies from Cincinnati Christian University.


Colin Hennessy

Vice President for Alumni and Donor Engagement

As vice president for Alumni and Donor Engagement, Colin leads a team dedicated to supporting the University of Iowa through thoughtful and innovative engagement and programming—overseeing alumni engagement, annual giving, communication and marketing, events, and stewardship efforts.

Before joining the UI Center for Advancement in 2022, Colin held positions at the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Chicago, and most recently, was senior vice president at the fundraising management consulting firm Grenzebach Glier and Associates. He earned his bachelor’s degree in communication and media studies from the University of Iowa, master’s degrees in adult and distance education from the University of Phoenix and public policy and administration from Iowa State University, and a doctorate in higher education management from the University of Pennsylvania.


Laura Seamans

Vice President for Talent Management

As vice president for talent management, Laura oversees strategies, products, and services that help the UI Center for Advancement attract, retain, develop, and reward highly skilled professionals who are committed to its mission and culture. She possesses domestic and international human resources experience in the fields of utilities, aerospace, and education. Prior to joining the center in 2023, Laura was the senior vice president of talent strategy for ACT. She received a bachelor’s degree in organizational communications from University of Northern Iowa and a master’s degree in organizational leadership from St. Ambrose University.


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L.A.-based artist Charles Ray to receive CLAS Alumni Fellow award, give talks this month. Unpainted sculpture by Charles Ray, 1997, fiberglass and paint, 60x78x171 inches. Photograph by Josh White and courtesy of the Matthew Marks Gallery. Charles Ray (75BFA) was walking through the UI physics and astronomy department one day when he came across an inspiring scene. Ray, an art student whose curiosity extended far beyond the studio, hoped to hitch a ride out to the observatory for some evening stargazing. Instead, he found a group of students constructing a satellite bound for a space mission. "It just blew my mind," recalls Ray. Just as mind-blowing were the sculptures Ray was creating across the river, years before he would establish himself as one of the world's most important artists. For one physics-defying piece, he fashioned a 2,000-pound slab of concrete atop a slender tree trunk. For another, he dropped a massive wrecking ball onto a crumpled steel plate, as if Sputnik had just crashed outside the old Art Building. Charles Ray "It was such a formative experience for me," the Los Angeles-based sculptor says of his time in Iowa City. "It did something to my soul and my brain. Even though I was young, the university and my mentors gave me a great deal of independence. My curiosity was endless." A professor emeritus at the UCLA School of the Arts and Architecture, Ray returns to campus this month to speak and receive the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences' Alumni Fellow award. Rather than just waxing nostalgic about his time at Iowa, Ray has organized a three-day lecture series April 16-18 with two fellow art scholars. Iowa native Graham Harman, a philosophy professor at the Southern California Institute of Architecture, will open the series by discussing his theory of aesthetics known as object-oriented ontology. On the second day, Ray will speak about the nature of sculptural objects. And Richard Neer, an art historian at the University of Chicago, will bookend the series by lecturing on the question of provenance, or art's origin. Ray will also give a separate public lecture April 17 in Art Building West titled "My Soul is an Object." Recognized as one of the leading artists of his generation, Ray is known for his strange and enigmatic sculptures so loaded with nods to the past that they've been called "catnip for art historians." His 2014 Horse and Rider, for example, is a 10-ton solid stainless steel work in the tradition of a war memorial, but depicts the artist slouch-shouldered atop a weary nag. Ray is also famous for his wry re-imaginings of familiar objects, like the 47-foot-long replica of a red toy fire truck that he parked in front of New York's Whitney Museum of American Art for a 1993 biennial exhibition. Ray and his studio team often spend years working on a given piece, which can fetch as much as seven figures at auction. His sculptures can be found at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, and the Art Institute of Chicago, among other major U.S. museums. Ray is currently preparing for a retrospective show in Paris next year?one of several upcoming international exhibitions. Isabel Barbuzza, UI associate professor of sculpture, describes Ray's work as beautiful and witty, while using scale in unexpected ways. Ray's 8-foot-tall Boy with Frog?commissioned for a prominent spot in Venice, Italy, then removed after some controversy (a version now stands outside the Getty Museum in Los Angeles)?is among Barbuzza's favorites. "His sculptures have a presence you can only see when you're in front of the work," she says. "They're very moving, and to me it's interesting what happens with scale?the viewer relates to the piece in a very profound way." Steve McGuire (83MA, 90PhD), director of the School of Art and Art History, says few others have contributed more to contemporary art than Ray. "This is a big deal for us to be able to celebrate his career," McGuire says of presenting Ray with the alumni fellow award. "I think it's pretty meaningful to him, and of course it's really meaningful for our school." A Chicago native, Ray arrived at Iowa as a gifted artist but hardly a model student. Ray's dyslexia made schoolwork a chore, and his parents had sent him to military school with the hopes of straightening out his academics. It was at the UI, however, where he finally found his language in the studio and, in turn, his footing in the classroom. "Through the syntax of sculpture, I could express myself intellectually for the first time," Ray says. "That gave me a kind of confidence." Ray studied under UI art school pillars like Wallace Tomasini, Julius Schmidt, and Hans Breder. But it was his bond with Roland Brenner?a South African professor and former pupil of sculptor Anthony Caro?that proved to be the most influential. Ray still remembers his first sculpture in Brenner's class, a steel configuration with long stems and discs at the end. Its bouquet-like resemblance didn't sit well with Brenner. "That showed me you made something, but didn't want to discover something," Ray recalls Brenner telling him. "Don't ever do that in my class again." The two would become lifelong friends. Iowa City is a different place today than the 1970s, particularly the transformation of the arts campus after the flood of 2008, Ray says. Still, his visits back to campus over the years always remind him of those crisp and clear Iowa nights at the observatory and gazing out the studio window while exploring the frontiers of sculpture. "It feels like you can see right through the galaxy when you look up," Ray says. Handheld bird by Charles Ray, 2006, painted steel, 2x4x3 inches The UI is home to six pieces by Ray, all found in the Pappajohn Biomedical Discovery Building and displayed through the university's Art on Campus program. Among them is Handheld bird, a tiny but ornate piece depicting a creature in an embryonic state. Lunchtime Lecture Series What: College of Liberal Arts and Sciences fellow Charles Ray and two guest art scholars?Graham Harman and Richard Neer?will deliver a series of public lectures this month at the UI. When, where: 12:20 p.m. April 16?18 at Art Building West, room 240, 141 N. Riverside Drive, Iowa City More information: events.uiowa.edu/26915 My Soul is an Object: Artist Talk with Charles Ray What: A public lecture by renowned sculptor and UI alumnus Charles Ray When, where: 7:30 p.m., Wednesday, April 17, at Art Building West, room 240, 141 N. Riverside Drive, Iowa City More about Ray: charlesraysculpture.com/ Support the UI School of Art and Art History

Each year since 1963, we've honored University of Iowa luminaries with our prestigious Distinguished Alumni Awards.

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