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STARKVILLE, Miss.–A professional staff member in the Mississippi State University Foundation is being promoted to a key fundraising leadership position.

Asya Besova Cooley will become the university’s new annual giving director, effective June 1. In that role, she will direct fundraising efforts that typically focus on gifts made to any MSU area on a continuing basis.

Cooley also will be responsible for securing annual gifts for the institution and its academic colleges through direct marketing efforts. Since 2011, she has served as assistant director of annual giving and coordinator of the MSU Foundation’s telefunding program.

“Asya brings substantial experience to her new role. As part of the annual giving team, it was a natural progression for her to lead the program and further utilize her skills in direct marketing and telefunding,” said Jack McCarty, the foundation’s executive director of development.

A native of Southwestern Russia, Cooley is a communication graduate of Alcorn State University who went on to receive a master’s degree in mass communication from Louisiana State University.

Before coming to MSU, she was a research associate at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa and co-owner and a social media consultant for the HH Agency in that city. Previously, she worked for two years with the New York Times Regional Media Group.

As annual giving director, Cooley will continue overseeing the Bulldog Calling Center. Employing some 50 students to make telephone solicitations of alumni and friends, the call staff also helps update database records of graduates and friends of MSU.

Mississippi State University currently has more than 125,000 living alumni.

“Asya will be a great asset as she works to increase gifts to the Mississippi State Fund which automatically activates a graduate’s membership in the alumni association,” McCarty said.

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