Heather Kamps has been named the new director of development at Missouri State University-West Plains.
Kamps has been the director of the West Plains office of Missouri’s Eighth Congressional District since 2008. She will begin her duties with the university on Nov. 14. University officials noted her appointment is pending approval by the Missouri State University Board of Governors.
“University officials have conducted an extensive search for a development director for the past several months, and we are pleased to find an individual with a strong knowledge of this region, a love of education and life-long learning, and a commitment to the goals of higher education and Missouri State University-West Plains such as Heather Kamps,” Chancellor Shirley Lawler said.
“Her strong communication and organizational skills will help us move forward with building our donor support for the outstanding academic programs at the university,” Lawler added. “We look forward to Heather joining our team in mid-November.”
As development director, Kamps will be responsible for the development, implementation and supervision of fundraising, alumni relations programs and grant development for the West Plains campus and service area.
She also will take the lead in cultivating constituent fundraising, alumni relations, donor relations, annual funds, major and planned gifts, prospect research, and development administration systems relative to the West Plains campus and its service area.
“I’m excited to join the dedicated professionals at Missouri State University-West Plains,” Kamps said. “This campus is a treasure in the Ozarks, educating students from the area, the state, the nation and even from around the world. Students don’t have to travel the globe to receive an affordable, world-class education. It’s in their own backyard!”
Has an extensive background in relationship development
As the director of the West Plains office for Missouri’s Eighth Congressional District, Kamps oversaw public relations activities and diplomacy efforts for former Congresswoman Jo Ann Emerson and current Congressman Jason Smith.
In addition, she managed regional office communication efforts throughout a four-county region, including event coordination, advance work, news releases, conflict resolution, social media updates and broader relationship development.
Through her work in the congressional office, Kamps planned and implemented a statewide town hall meeting featuring Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai to foster a solutions-based discussion on rural broadband; and coordinated Missouri’s Eighth Congressional District Service Academy Review Board, sending more than 40 students to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, the Naval Academy and the Air Force Academy.
During her tenure with the office, Kamps directed more than 600 public meetings, roundtable discussions, training sessions, constituent meetings and events building goodwill and constructive relationships throughout a seven-county region, and she created a vast network of contacts in the private and public sectors throughout south-central Missouri, as well as state and federal elected officials and agencies.
Prior to joining the congressional office, Kamps served as director of public relations at Ozarks Medical Center (OMC) from October 2002 through July 2008. She lead a seven-member department in effectively developing all internal and external communications for not only the 114-bed acute care hospital, but also the system’s eight primary and 15 specialty clinics, rehabilitation services and home health. This included marketing efforts, media relations, print materials and crisis communication risk management.
From February 2001 to September 2002, Kamps served as the statewide and community partnerships consultant with the Missouri Secretary of State’s office under Matt Blunt. In her position, she strategized and coordinated private-public partnerships to further the state’s economic and educational goals.
Kamps also served as a graduate assistant with the Missouri State University Office of Communications from August 1998 to May 2000. While there she effectively promoted the university’s mission and academic personnel by researching salient topics and expert resources; writing news releases, feature stories and media tips; crafting public service announcements; and organizing and implementing community service and university events.
Kamps earned a Bachelor of Arts in Speech Communication with honors from the University of Missouri Columbia in May 1997 and a Master of Arts in Communication and Mass Media from Missouri State University in May 2017.
Active in the community
In addition to her work activities, Kamps has been very active in the West Plains community through her service as a board member for the West Plains Civic Center, West Plains Public Library, Heart of the Ozarks United Way, West Plains Noon Rotary Club, South Central Career Center and Christos House. She also serves as a coach for the West Plains Waves swim team.
Kamps is a member of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) and the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC).
“As a native of Missouri and a proud alumna of Missouri State University, I look forward to ensuring that education in the Ozarks is here for generations to come,” Kamps said. “I value Dr. Lawler’s commitment to students and the greater West Plains community. Investing in and expanding programs in partnership with the needs of our region will build a brighter future for generations to come. I’m honored and humbled to be a part of that legacy.”