Cooley, Berkery assume new fundraising roles

Two veteran MSU fundraisers recently began new duties with the Mississippi State University Foundation.

Asya Besova Cooley was named the university’s director of development for MSU Libraries, the graduate school and the Judy and Bobby Shackouls Honors College. She began directing major gifts fundraising for these areas in the newly created position in May.

Since 2013, Cooley has served as the university’s director of annual giving. Previously, she was assistant director of annual giving and coordinator of the MSU Foundation’s telefunding program.

“We are pleased to offer alumni and friends the opportunity to work with Asya to further these areas of MSU. Her previous experience in leading annual giving efforts will serve her well in this new role,” said Jack McCarty, executive director of development for the MSU Foundation.

Cooley, a native of Southwestern Russia, is a communication graduate of Alcorn State University and later received a master’s degree in mass communication from Louisiana State University.

Prior to joining MSU in 2011, she was a research associate at the University of Alabama, co-owner and a social media consultant for the HH Agency in Tuscaloosa, and worked with the New York Times Regional Media group.
Succeeding Cooley as director of the university’s annual giving program is Starkville native and alumna Jana Berkery. She began her new role as leader of the annual giving team in June.

“Jana brings energy, enthusiasm, and substantial experience to her new role. She has a passion for MSU, and it was a natural progression for her to assume leadership of the program,” said McCarty.

Berkery joined the MSU Foundation in 2013 and has served as the associate director of annual giving. Her duties have included fundraising for specific MSU programs, including the university-wide scholarship effort known as Compass, and targeted campaigns such as faculty and staff giving, online giving, and student giving.

A 2005 graduate of MSU, Berkery earned her bachelor’s degree in sports communication, along with a minor in marketing. She began service with her alma mater in 2011 as coordinator of annual giving for the Bulldog Club, MSU’s athletic fundraising organization. She also has previous experience in higher education with Mississippi University for Women and University of Alabama at Birmingham.

At MSU, the annual fund is designed to provide an avenue through which donors can support any area of Mississippi State on a continual basis. Gifts may be specifically designated for a college or school, academic department, scholarship fund, or any other area.

The annual giving program also includes the university’s telefunding center that employs some 50 students to make telephone solicitations of alumni and friends of the institution. In addition to solicitations, center staff members work to update alumni association records during the contact process. Mississippi State has more than 132,000 living alumni, and the MSU Foundation engages as many of them as possible annually.