Robert Hartsook (rev.)
The professional career of multibillion-dollar fundraiser and philanthropist Bob Hartsook began at CCC. As the dean of students at age 21 and vice president of the college less than two years later, the Emporia native became the youngest person in the country to hold a higher education executive position. He credits presidents Tangeman and Mosier with the opportunity.
“The fundamentals of academic leadership were taught to me by Jim Tangeman,” Hartsook said. “And the opportunity was through my selection by Dr. Richard Mosier. Colby in those early days was blessed with innovative and creative leadership.”
Hartsook often reflects on the words of CCC Trustee Dr. Floyd Smith as Hartsook was leaving Colby to enter law school at Washburn University.
“He said, ‘Bob, you understand what few ever learn. There is no security; there is only opportunity.'”
The eight words resonated with Hartsook.
“That message has been the guiding light of my career.”
After earning a Juris Doctor, Hartsook returned to higher education administration and had success as the vice president at Washburn and then was the executive vice president at Wichita State University. While at Wichita State, he completed a $100 million capital campaign, and it was the first drive among any Kansas Regents universities and one of 30 universities nationally to surpass $100 million.
His growing passion for fundraising and philanthropy led to the launch of Hartsook, which today ranks as one of the largest fundraising consulting practices in the world. In 2009, he expanded with Hartsook Institutes for Fundraising and established the Hartsook Master of Arts in Fundraising Management degree program through its partner Avila University.
Other business interests include Hartsook Farms & Resorts, an oceanfront condo real estate company in Wrightsville Beach, N.C., and Hartsook Enterprises, Resources and Investments, LLC. He is also the chair and CEO of Hartsook Institutes for Fundraising in partnership with Indiana University, University of Chicago, and Plymouth University in the United Kingdom.
He is a prolific writer and has authored 11 books, over 150 articles, and made more than 1,000 presentations on fundraising and philanthropy. In addition to a Juris Doctor, he holds a bachelor’s degree in economics, master’s degree in counseling, and Doctor of Education.
Hartsook’s awards and recognitions consist of the Honorary Doctor of Business from Plymouth University, the Special Growing Philanthropy Award, the National Sigma Phi Epsilon Citation Award, the Emporia State University Distinguished Service Award, and the Washburn University Law School Lifetime Achievement Award. He was also listed among the Top 150 Important Citizens in the 150-year history of Emporia, Kansas, and is a member of the Emporia High School Hall of Fame.
When Hartsook finds time, he visits his son Austin Hartsook and his wife Leah Lawson Hartsook in Asheville, N.C.