A New Generation Brings New Energy to Advancement

Liz Garvin holding a baseball bat

New people and new objectives are generating new energy for the Advancement Office.

“My goal is to connect with donors and alumni so we can, through philanthropical giving, elevate student success and faculty resources,” said Liz Garvin (MA ’05), vice president for advancement and executive director of the FPU Foundation.

With these marching orders, the advancement staff is working to better attract and serve donors who share FPU’s mission to “develop students for leadership and service through excellence in Christian higher education.” As a Christian university, FPU is also called to be a community of learners committed to learning and service that is prophetic in its dialogue with contemporary culture.

Garvin came to FPU with more than 20 years of fundraising and nonprofit management in Fresno, at the Foundation for Fresno Unified Schools, as senior director of planned and foundation giving at Fresno State and as director of mediation at the Better Business Bureau Fresno Office and president/CEO of Samaritan Women (Rescue the Children). She is also an FPU alumna, with an M.A. in Christian Ministry.


Both Garvin’s personal warmth and professional expertise compliment her ability to lead the advancement team in making connections with people, which is the key to success. Communication about the current happenings at FPU is crucial to those connections. “People want to know what’s going on at the university,” she said.

Juan Garza holding a baseball bat

While connection is the job of everyone in the Advancement Office, two new hires are on the front lines.

Juan Garza (MA ’10) is director of strategic engagement for Fresno Pacific Biblical Seminary. Garza recently moved to advancement from the post of community relations officer at FPU’s Center for Community Transformation. He will focus on developing a new base of supporting churches, businesses and other donors, to raise funds for additional financial aid to students pursuing ministry degrees.

Patricia O'Connor holding a baseball bat

Patricia O’Connor is director of annual giving. As part of her work to design and manage a comprehensive annual giving program, she is taking a fresh look at an old staple of support—the President’s Circle. Circle members provide vital support by contributing at least $1,000 a year; praying regularly for students, faculty and staff; encouraging students to attend and friends to support FPU; attending or hosting events; and serving on boards and committees.

“This is a whole new vision for the President’s Circle,” Garvin said of O’Connor’s efforts. “Her new ideas will bring alumni back to campus with fun activities.”

Over at the FPU Foundation, Steven Redekop, director of foundation development and legacy gifts, is expanding services. “He’s focusing on offering alumni support in the areas of wills and trusts, including those who maybe didn’t think they could benefit,” Garvin said.

As director, Redekop works with the foundation board, supervises daily operations and cultivates prospects’ interest in and comprehension of the university mission as well as creating and presenting potential donors with tailored charitable gift proposals. He is assisted by Sarah Knight, foundation office administrator, who is responsible for all aspects of foundation and planned giving activities.


Advancement is coming together as a team to move the entire university community forward—administration, faculty, staff and especially students. “Our purpose is to empower each team member to shine in their particular roles,” Garvin said.

McDonald Hall holding a baseball bat
  • Kathy Herms (BA ‘18) is assistant director of donor engagement—overseeing the cultivation of new donors as well as re-engaging lapsed donors. She coordinates activities for private scholarship donors and assists their donor relationship managers.
  • Matt Mazzoni (BA ‘12) is assistant athletics director for external relations—overseeing athletics external relations and fundraising by boosting the department’s community presence, managing athletics marketing efforts, promoting major athletic events and serving on the athletics administrative leadership team.
  • Helen Bailey is executive assistant to the vice president for advancement—assisting the vice president through enhancing her productivity and contributing to the overall effectiveness of the advancement team.
  • Amy Millis is executive director of advancement services—leading the recruitment, development, retention and stewardship of university donors and providing administrative support to the advancement team as well as managing the processing and reporting of all university and foundation donations.
  • Diana Martinez is advancement services specialist—coordinating the daily workflow and maintaining donor records within the advancement services.
  • Miguel Bermudez Reynoso (BS ‘19) is advancement services coordinator—engaging in ongoing professional growth and development focused on enhancing technical skills related to advancement services.

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