One Thousand Days Transformed - The Campaign for Cedarville
Will Smallwood and Diana Perkey

Fundraising Division Adds Two Leaders to Professional Team

by Mark Weinstein, Executive Director of Public Relations


Cedarville University has hired Dr. Will Smallwood and Diana Perkey for key roles within its institutional advancement division. Smallwood will serve as associate vice president for development, and Perkey is the new director of alumni engagement.

Smallwood begins his new role on April 19. Perkey started on April 5.

Smallwood comes to Cedarville University from Louisiana College, where he served as executive vice president. In this role, Smallwood provided leadership over all functions of enrollment management, institutional advancement, including development, strategic planning, major gifts, and athletic fundraising as well as the college’s marketing and communications department.

During his tenure at Louisiana, he secured the college’s first major endowed scholarship gift, assisted in the launch of a new website, and increased web and social media traffic through new market-driven strategies and tactics.

Prior to his role at Louisiana College, Smallwood was the senior vice president for advancement and university relations at Oklahoma Baptist University. Under his leadership, OBU completed a historic campaign that culminated in gifts and commitments exceeding $52M-$10M higher than the initial campaign goal.   

“Dr. Smallwood brings a depth of experience to Cedarville University that will truly impact our team and the ability to serve our constituents well,” said Dr. Rick Melson, vice president for advancement. “Because he brings wisdom and experience in relationship-building, enrollment, and marketing, he will be a tremendous asset to the university and advancement team.”

Cedarville University launched a nationwide search for an executive director of development last April. Throughout the search process, it became clear that Smallwood’s strengths provided significantly more value to Cedarville than a director-level position, which prompted Cedarville to elevate the position to associate vice president for development.

Smallwood, a native of Ocala, Florida, earned a bachelor’s degree in public relations from the University of Florida. He earned both a master’s degree in theology and a Ph.D. in biblical spirituality/American religious history from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He also holds an MBA with an emphasis in organizational leadership from Louisiana State University Shreveport.

Perkey, a graduate of Cedarville University, joins the advancement division after a successful career in the business sector. Most recently, she served as the executive assistant/inventory key process owner for the Cornerstone Research Group (CRG) in Miamisburg. In this role, she oversaw communication for the vice president, maintained all government-required documentation for purchasing and inventory processes, and trained staff in the inventory process.

Prior to her work at CRG, she held business positions at Arlt & Company and the CinDay Academy, both in Springboro. Perkey has also worked in the Dayton Christian School system and various nonprofit ministries.

“The heartbeat of the advancement division is developing and cultivating relationships with alumni and friends,” said Melson. “Diana’s experience and personality fit perfectly with these roles. We’re looking forward to her leadership within the alumni relations department.”

Located in southwest Ohio, Cedarville University is an accredited, Christ-centered, Baptist institution with an enrollment of 4,550 undergraduate, graduate, and online students in more than 150 areas of study. Founded in 1887, Cedarville is one of the largest private universities in Ohio, recognized nationally for its authentic Christian community, rigorous academic programs, strong graduation and retention rates, accredited professional and health science offerings, and high student engagement ranking. For more information about the University, visit

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