Dr. Gearhart became chancellor of the University of Arkansas on July 1, 2008, after serving 10 years as vice chancellor for university advancement. In 1976, he became assistant to the president at Westminster College. A year later he was appointed the director of development at Westminster and the director of development for the Winston Churchill Memorial and Library. In 1982, he was selected as director of development at the University of Arkansas. In 1985, he became vice president for development and university relations at Penn State University. Three years later, he was appointed senior vice president. While at Penn State, he launched a major capital campaign that raised more than $352 million. Total private gifts to Penn State during his 11 years at the university surpassed $950 million. In 1995, Dr. Gearhart became senior vice president and managing director of the international consulting firm Grenzebach Glier & Associates. And in 1998, he returned once again to his native state as vice chancellor of university advancement at the University of Arkansas. He is responsible for the development, alumni, special events, and university relations programs. The University of Arkansas completed a $1 billion capital campaign in 2005, which included a $300 million gift in 2002 from the Walton Family Charitable Support Foundation, the largest gift ever made to a public university.
He is a distinguished alumnus of his alma mater, Westminster College, and in 1991 was named a Fulbright Scholar and studied at Oxford University, Merton College, in Oxford, England.
- College administrative and leadership dimensions
- Faculty involvement in institutional governance and academic democracy
- Capital Campaigns in higher education settings
- Finance, management, and administration of higher education
- Development, Advancement, External relations
- university presidency
- Change in Higher Education
- non - profit management
- Ed.D., University of Arkansas, Higher Education Administration
- J.D., University of Arkansas, Law
- B.A., Westminster College
- Philanthropy, Fundraising, and the Capital Campaign - A Practical Guide, National Association of College and University Business Officers, 2006.
- The Capital Campaign in Higher Education - A Practical Guide for College and University Advancement, National Association of College and University Business Officers, 1995.
- With Gloriana St. Clair, Library Development Structures in CIC Institutions: The Search for Constituents, College and University Libraries, 1993.
- With Michael Bezilla, Fund-Raising Success Takes Teamwork, Fund-Raising Management, March 1991.
- Executive Search Invades the Academy, CASE Currents, February 1991.
- With Roger L. Williams, Our Reputation for Campaigning: Do We Make Ourselves Look Greedy?” AGB Reports, January/February 1991.
- With Roger L. Williams, The British are Coming, CASE Currents, October 1990.
- Alumni Associations are Too Often Isolated and Ignored in College Fund-Raising Efforts, The Chronicle of Higher Education, November 15, 1989, p. B2.
- “Alumni Giving,” Major Saver Education Foundation, Overland Park, Kansas, April 2007.
- “Philanthropy, Fundraising, and the Capital Campaign: A Practical Guide,” ASME Mechanical Engineering Department Heads Meeting, Fayetteville, Arkansas, October 2006.
- “Welcome Address,” Arkansas Farm Bureau Leadership Conference, Fayetteville, Arkansas, July 2006.
- “Articulating the Graduate School Mission to the University Development Officer,” Conference of Southern Graduate Schools, Little Rock, Arkansas, February 2006.
- “Introduction of the Bill Franklin Volunteer of the Year Award.” CASE III Conference, Nashville, Tennessee, February 2006.
- “Hall of Honor Address,” Fayetteville Public Schools Education Foundation, Fayetteville, Arkansas, October 2005.
- “Campaign Fundraising,” Princeton Healthcare System Leadership Retreat, Princeton, New Jersey, February 2005.
- “Welcome Address,” American Association for Affirmative Action Region VI-AAA Fall Conference, Fayetteville, Arkansas, November 2004.
- “Philanthropy Trends,” Episcopal Collegiate School Foundation, Little Rock, Arkansas, January 2004.
- “Welcome Address,” Emerging Trends in Retailing Conference, Fayetteville, Arkansas, October 2003.
- “The Mega Gift,” Big 12 Development Conference, Dallas, Texas, March 2003.
- “Terrorism, Recession, and Philanthropy,” Baptist Health Foundation Board of Trustees Meeting, January 2003.
- “The Evolution of a Mega Gift”, District V CASE Conference, Chicago, Illinois, December 2002.
- “Anatomy of a Mega Gift,” Minnesota Medial Foundation Conference, San Francisco, November 2002.
- “Integration of Advancement,” District V CASE Conference, Chicago, Illinois, December 1999.
- “Post Campaign Planning,” District V CASE Conference, Chicago, Illinois, December 1997.
- “The Use of Volunteers in a Capital Campaign,” CASE National Assembly, Washington, DC, July 1997.
- “The Capital Campaign and Deferred Giving,” NACUBO Conference, Cambridge, Massachusetts, December 1996.
- “The Capital Campaign and the Faculty,” Big Ten Conference, Mackinac Island, Michigan, August 1994.
- “Alumni and Development: Finding the Common Ground,” CASE Conference, Chicago, Illinois, December 1993.
- “New Campaign Counting Guidelines,” CASE Conference, Panel Discussion, Chicago, Illinois, December 1993.
- “The Capital Campaign: An Integral Part of Hospital and Health Care Development,” Meeting of The Association for Health Care Philanthropy, September 1991.
- “Our Reputation for Campaigning: Do We Make Ourselves Look Greedy?” CASE National Conference, Chicago, Illinois, July 9, 1990. (Coverage of talk appears in Chronicle of Higher Education, July 25, 1990, p. A21).
- “Managing a Large Scale Capital Campaign,” University Executive Conference Center, Indianapolis, Indiana, April 25, 1989.
- “Planning a National Campaign,” keynote address to capital campaign track, National Society of Fund-Raising Executives, International Conference on Fund Raising, Anaheim, California, April 11, 1989.
- With Richard Schultz (Executive Director, National Collegiate Athletic Association), “Institutional Advancement and Athletics: Pursuing Goodness of Fit,” CASE II Conference, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, January 24, 1989.
- “Major Public Research University Campaigns and the Academic Enterprise,” Big Ten Fund-Raisers Conference, Mackinac Island, Michigan, August 9, 1988.
- “Synthesis of Development and University Relations, the Advancement Team,” National Meeting of the Council for Advancement and Support of Education, Los Angeles, California, July 13, 1988.
- “Self Management,” CASE District II Conference, Great Gorge, New Jersey, January 21, 1987.
- “Development Supporting the Academic Enterprise,” National Meeting of the Council for Advancement and Support of Education, San Antonio, Texas, July 16, 1986.
Gearhart has authored three books: Philanthropy, Fundraising, and the Capital Campaignand The Capital Campaign in Higher Education, a practical guide for college and university advancement, and Case Studies in Higher Education Fundraising as well as numerous articles. He has been a featured speaker for many professional organizations.
He is an "of counsel" senior member of a nationally prominent philanthropic management consulting firm with current client fund-raising goals totaling in excess of $10 billion. Clients include institutions of higher education and health care; cultural, regional and national institutions; and other nonprofit organizations.
He is licensed to practice law – Arkansas Jurisdiction.
Gearhart’s primary line of inquiry has been a process study of the major elements of planning and conducting capital campaigns for colleges and universities. Running a successful campaign can fundamentally transform an institution by keeping it on the cutting edge of higher education.
Oustanding teacher award from department - 2017