President Dean K. Thompson is pleased to announce that Dale Melton will serve as Associate Vice President for Seminary Relations, beginning July 1. Melton, who has worked at Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary since 1997, will follow Don Ragsdale, who announced his retirement from the fundraising position in May.
Since 2000, Melton has served as Database Administrator. Most recently, he has served as Acting Director of the Annual Fund and Alum Relations. In addition to his responsibilities in these positions, he has provided ongoing support for the Seminary’s institutional research and effectiveness, the recent strategic planning process and subsequent implementation, and the initial stages of a capital campaign, which will become one of his primary responsibilities in the new position.
“Don Ragsdale has led the Seminary Relations team to position the Seminary for a successful start for our capital campaign, and Dale’s intimate knowledge of the process of that campaign, based on an equally intimate knowledge of the Seminary’s strategic plan that the campaign will allow us to carry out, makes him exceptionally qualified to take up the management of the campaign office of Seminary Relations,” said Cathy Dawson, who served as Vice President for Seminary Relations for nine years before her retirement, May 31.
“Likewise, the relationships Dale has forged with our alums and supporters over the past seven years are true evidence of his ability to work with those who share with him a deep love for Louisville Seminary and an appreciation of the crucially important need for its mission in the world.
“It is not often that gifts for planning, strategic thinking, and relationship building are found in equal measure in a person, as they are in Dale. The Seminary is blessed to have him serve in this important role,” she continued.
Melton is a graduate of Wake Forest University and earned his Master of Divinity degree from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. Following doctoral studies in theology, which were interrupted in 1995, he began working at LPTS. In support of Seminary Relations, he has developed the key constituent database, which has become a backbone of the Seminary’s fundraising efforts.
In anticipation of the new challenges and responsibilities he will assume, Melton said, “I am encouraged by the strategic visioning offered by our President, Dean Thompson, and confident in the support of our Board of Trustees, employees, and worldwide alums and friends. I am deeply thankful for and look expectantly to build upon the solid foundation laid by Cathy Dawson’s leadership and Don Ragsdale’s advocacy.”
Ragsdale has served the Seminary Relations department since July 1998.
In the nine years he has worked at the Seminary, Ragsdale has helped to raise more than $45 million, particularly during the 150th Anniversary Campaign, which concluded in 2003. As part of his leadership for the Annual Fund, he initiated the idea of a Challenge Fund, which resulted in increases in giving and gifts from new donors. Ragsdale has also coordinated the President’s Roundtable, which was established in 1995 in order to engage committed supporters who would provide feedback to the Seminary president and work with the Seminary in studying contemporary issues facing the Church and theological education today.
“Don and I both came to the Seminary Relations Office in June 1998,” said Dawson. “Outside of the Seminary walls, he has been the 'face of Louisville Seminary' to many donors and friends, and he has formed fast friendships with many LPTS alums. He has been a valued and trusted colleague to all of us in Seminary Relations.”
Most of Ragsdale’s career has been in institutional advancement. Prior to coming to Louisville Seminary, he had served as Executive Director of Development at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in Terre Haute, Ind., Vice President for Advancement at Warner Southern College in Lake Wales, Fla., and as the Controller for the Indiana University Foundation in Bloomington, Ind.
Ragsdale will retire in Bloomington, Ind., where his spouse, Janice, resides.