Our Staff

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  • Jacob Kirkham

    Executive Senior Associate Athletic Director of Development

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    Michigan State Athletics and University Advancement have announced on February 2, 2023, the appointment of Jacob Kirkham to the position of Executive Senior Associate Athletics Director of Development. In this role, Kirkham will lead fundraising efforts for MSU Athletics and Spartan Fund initiatives, while supervising Spartan Fund staff.

    Prior to MSU, Kirkham spent six years as Associate Athletic Director & Executive Director of Major Gifts / Sr. Director of Development at the Oregon State University Foundation, overseeing a team of professionals focused on major gifts, events, and donor relationships in support of Oregon State University Athletics.

    Kirkham has extensive athletics fundraising experience, and at OSU was part of the team that raised more than $92 million in support of ‘Completing Reser Stadium’ – the most transformational project in the history of OSU. The 365-day use facility included an addition to the football stadium, a student welcome center, and a student health clinic. During his tenure at OSU, Kirkham played a significant role in the OSU Athletics facilities Master Plan and the creation of several key initiatives including the Terry Baker Society, Forever Beavs, OSU Football Head Coach’s Circle, and FEARLESS – Women of Oregon State Athletics. Kirkham has a deep understanding of university advancement and all aspects of fundraising and has a personal commitment to intercollegiate athletics.

    Prior to Oregon State, Kirkham spent nearly three years as a Major Gift Officer for West Virginia University Athletics and the Mountaineer Athletic Club. Before WVU, Kirkham spent three years at the University of Utah working as a Regional Development Officer.

    Kirkham earned his bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Utah and his master’s degree in sport administration from Ohio University.

    His family includes his spouse Whitney, and their four children (Cassity, twins Charlie and Walt, and Quinn).

  • Mark Schoenl

    Associate Athletics Director and Director of Major Gifts


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    Mark leads the Major Gifts team, including all Spartan Fund Development Officers, in their efforts to establish donor relationships and cultivate significant financial gifts in support of MSU Athletics. During his tenure he led the development team during the MSU Empower Extraordinary Campaign, which secured almost $300M in Athletics giving, including over $60 million in gifts towards endowments for scholarship and program support for Spartan student-athletes. Additionally, he has spear-headed fund-raising efforts for several facility projects including securing lead-gifts, and worked collaboratively on some of the largest gifts in MSU Athletics and University history. The Spartan Fund team works closely with individual sport programs and head coaches, and Mark personally works with donors throughout the Northeast and Southeast U.S., Florida, and Michigan.

    Mark joined MSU as the first Director of Sales for Premium Seating in 2006, in which he increased sales over 15% each year, and transitioned to his role with the Major Gifts team in 2009 as an Associate Director of Development. He was promoted to Assistant Athletics Director for Development in 2014, and moved up to his current role in 2015 overseeing the Spartan Fund professional development staff and fund-raising priorities.

    Mark’s background includes a variety of roles working for an NFL franchise, collegiate sports marketing firm (Learfield), minor league baseball team, and an independent business news organization.

    Mark is a Michigan State University alumnus, as well as the University of Richmond. He currently resides in Okemos with his wife, and two sons, including a current Michigan State student.

  • Tim Day

    Associate Athletics Director, Development


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    As an Associate Athletic Director/Development, Tim oversees strategy and initiatives for various aspects of athletics development including marketing/communications, internal operations, and annual giving, while partnering with nearly 100 transformational donors to fulfill their philanthropic interests.

    Tim, a former letter-winner at Michigan State, played two seasons of professional baseball with the Chicago White Sox organization (2005-2006) and entered athletics development in 2007. Tim earned a bachelor’s of science degree (Kinesiology) from MSU in 2006 and continued his education by earning a master’s of science (Sports Administration) in 2009 from MSU.

    Tim’s responsibilities have also included oversight of stewardship & events, premium seating, and leading business partnerships with third-party companies (Tailgate Guys/RevelXP, CaringCent, Fast Access).  He was one of 3 staff members responsible with the introduction, implementation, and execution of an online men’s basketball seat adjustment (2010) based upon on a new priority point system.  Tim was also charged with a $120M goal for annual giving/expendable funds during Empower Extraordinary, the campaign for Michigan State (2014-2018) and successfully raised $138M through a collaborative team effort.

    Tim is a member of MSU Athletics’ Football Gameday Experience team, was appointed as one of 5 “Champion of Change” members of the athletics department in collaboration with the Disney Institute and was selected as a representative for University Advancement’s MVP (Mission, Value, Purpose) committee.

    Tim is married to Alyssa, a Michigan State alum, and they have four children, Easton, Rylan, Elijah, and Everett.



  • Bryan Hoch

    Assistant Athletics Director, Major Gifts & Premium Seating


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    Bryan Hoch joined the Spartan Fund staff in January 2013, previously working in the Spartan Ticket Office as the Assistant and Associate Ticket Manager since 2005.

    As Assistant Athletic Director for Major Gifts & Premium Seating, Bryan is responsible for securing significant philanthropic donations for the athletic departments capital projects, endowments, and sport/program specific support.  In addition, Bryan oversees the sales and management of suite, club, and courtside seating areas for MSU Athletics while ensuring premium seat donors have memorable game-day experiences.

    Bryan earned both B.S. and M.Ed. degrees in Sport Management from East Stroudsburg University (PA) where he was also a 4-year letter winner on the football team. Prior to MSU, Bryan worked in the athletic departments at Lehigh University and the University of Maryland.

    Bryan is a native of Bath, PA and currently resides in East Lansing, MI with his wife, Dr. Sara Timmons-Hoch.

  • Vacant


    Associate Director of Development

  • Jason Varlesi

    Associate Director of Development


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    Jason joined the Spartan Fund staff in November 2021 as an Associate Director of Development with a focus on establishing and developing relationships with Spartans in his home region of Southeastern Michigan.

    Prior to Michigan State, Jason served as Director of Development for Athletics at the University of Detroit Mercy. During his time there, Jason oversaw fundraising and donor engagement efforts across the United States for Detroit Mercy’s 17 Division 1 teams while leading several multi-million-dollar athletic capital campaigns. Additionally, he was a key contributor in Detroit Mercy’s successful $100 million dollar University campaign that was completed in 2020.

    Jason’s professional experience includes positions with the Detroit Tigers “AA” affiliate Erie Seawolves, the Ontario Hockey League’s Erie Otters and Plymouth Whalers, along with leadership/coaching positions with the Detroit Compuware and Victory Honda AAA hockey programs.

    Originally from Dearborn Michigan, Jason is a graduate of Western Michigan University where he received a bachelor’s of business administration in marketing and holds a master’s of business administration from the University of Detroit Mercy.

  • Ethan Hemer

    Associate Director of Development


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    Began at Michigan State: June 2022

    Education: Hemer graduated in 2013 with a B.S. in elementary education from the University of Wisconsin, receiving an MBA from Butler University in 2020.

    Job Responsibilities: Hemer is responsible for connecting members of the Spartan family with opportunities that will positively impact the student-athlete experience at MSU.

    Past Experience: Hemer came to MSU from Marian University in Indianapolis. He served as the Assistant Athletic Director for External Development, where he oversaw a team dedicated to ticket sales, sponsorships, marketing, and fundraising for the athletic department.Prior to that, he worked as the Athletic Development Officer at Marian University from 2016– 20 and spent two seasons in the NFL with the Pittsburgh Steelers from 2014-15. Hemer played defensive line at the University of Wisconsin from 2009-13 and was a member of three Big Ten Championship and Rose Bowl teams.

  • Liz Rousseau

    Associate Director of Development


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    Liz joined the Spartan Fund team in March 2022 as the Assistant Director of Development and was promoted to Associate Director of Development in June 2023. Liz will continue to support the growth in building donor relationships and giving support to MSU and MSU Athletics throughout the southeast Michigan area.

    Prior to Michigan State, Liz served as an Assistant Director of Admissions with the University of Detroit Mercy from 2019-2022. She also served as the Marketing Event Coordinator and Event Marketing Manager for the Detroit Red Wings from 2015 to 2019.

    Liz graduated from Central Michigan University with a bachelor’s degree in sport management, and a master’s degree in sport administration.


  • Sarah Skilling

    Senior Director of Special Events & Stewardship


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    Sarah Skilling has been with Michigan State University since July of 2007 and began working for the MSU Athletic Department in May of 2012.

    As the Sr. Director of Special Events & Stewardship, Sarah oversees the planning of special events and experiences for Spartan Fund donors as well as stewardship efforts. She also works with internal and external groups and organizations on collaborative events related to MSU Athletics.

    After graduating from MSU in 2000 with an Advertising degree, Sarah worked at the Lansing State Journal for five years doing marketing, promotions, special events and community relations. She was also a special events coordinator for the MSU Federal Credit Union from 2005-2007. Before MSU Athletics, Sarah worked for the MSU Alumni Association and University Advancement departments from 2007-2012.

    Sarah is a native of Rockford, MI. She played basketball and softball in high school and continues to enjoy playing organized sports.

    Sarah resides in Lansing, MI.

  • Jared Del Rosario

    Assistant Director of Stewardship & Endowments


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    Began at Michigan State: November 2021

    Education: Del Rosario graduated in 2016 with a B.B.A. in Marketing from Boise State University, receiving his M.S. in Sport Administration from Western Kentucky University in 2019.

    Job Responsibilities: Del Rosario is responsible for developing and implementing a department stewardship program and assists with donor relations engagement efforts. Del Rosario also manages current endowments residing in the Spartan Fund and assists with new donor endowment gift agreements.

    Past Experience: Del Rosario started in the Spartan Fund as a Development Assistant from 2021-2022. Prior to that, he worked as an Account Executive in the private sector from 2019-2021.

    Personal: Del Rosario is a native of Chino, CA and has two dogs, Max and Luna.

  • Matt Read Headshot

    Matt Read

    Director of Internal Operations


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    Matt Read joined the Michigan State Spartan Fund in July of 2021.

    As the Director of Internal Operations, Matt is responsible for overseeing day-to-day department operations, implementing policies and procedures, and business intelligence. Managing the Operations Team, Matt also leads all data management and donor service-related efforts.

    Prior to his time at Michigan State, Matt served as a Human Resources Associate with Stanford University Athletics from 2019 to 2021 and an Adjunct Professor of Sport Management at Menlo College for the 2020 academic year.

    Matt graduated from the University of Michigan-Dearborn with a bachelor of business administration and from Western Michigan University with a master’s in sport administration.

  • Sandra Debnar

    Graphics & Communications Manager


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    Sandra joined the Spartan Fund team in November 2019. As the Graphics & Communications Manager, she assists with communications strategy and serves as the content creator responsible for producing and maintaining communication materials for Spartan Fund and its staff. Sandra creates graphics, promotional materials, proposals, videos, and multimedia content used in outreach efforts to its donor base and to increase brand awareness. She also serves as the Spartan Fund photographer.

    Sandra came to MSU from the State of Michigan where she worked for the Legislative Service Bureau for 17 years providing design, proofreading and professional typesetting, as well as photography and videography services.


  • Jayme Bisard

    Executive Secretary II


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    Jayme joined Spartan Fund in June 2014. As the Executive Secretary II, she supports and reports directly to the Executive Director of Spartan Fund with a broad spectrum of responsibilities. Jayme also supports Spartan Fund Directors by coordinating travel arrangements, scheduling and confirming meetings and appointments between Executive Directors, University Advancement, Spartan Fund staff and Intercollegiate Athletics professionals. She prepares and distributes materials and productivity reports prior to meetings, oversees the production of briefing reports, tracks unit development officer memberships and travel schedules, and assists the Executive Director in establishing, monitoring and managing the annual budget.

    Jayme has worked at MSU since 2013 and prior to joining Spartan Fund she worked at the College of Engineering providing support to the department of Mechanical Engineering.

    Jayme and her husband reside in Williamston and enjoy spending their spare time running weekend races and enjoying the outdoors with their daughters, Evalyn and Hazel.

  • Victoria Diaz

    Data & Development Operations Assistant

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    Victoria Diaz joined Spartan Fund in February of 2023. As the Data & Development Operations Assistant, Victoria is responsible for coach reports, acknowledgment letters, and the day-to-day management of data in Paciolan. She graduated with her bachelor of arts in sociology from the University of South Florida and is currently pursuing a master’s in sport management from the University of Florida.

  • Lucas Owens

    Development Assistant

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    Lucas joined the Spartan Fund team in January of 2023. He assists with event preparation and supplies as well as hires, supervises, and assists student workers. Other responsibilities include assisting with donor communications, including social media, email, and mailed items and the implementation and distribution of stewardship-related items. Lucas also assists, when needed, with front-line phone coverage, mailings, facility tours and other general office duties.

  • Justin Fribbley

    Development Assistant

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    Justin joined the Spartan Fund team in March of 2023. He assists with donor engagement and cultivation as member of the external fundraising team. Other responsibilities include assisting with event hospitality, front-line phone coverage, facility tours and other general office duties.