Max Fredric 'Fred' Volkmann

Profile Updated: July 18, 2018
Residing In Tucson, AZ USA
Spouse/Partner Barbara Jean Drackley Volkmann
Occupation President/ViceChancellor Emeritus
Children Jennifer, born 1963
Christopher, born 1967
Rebecca, born 1969

Max Fredric 'Fred' Volkmann is the President of the nonprofit Arizona Senior Academy (ASA) in Tucson, Arizona. ASA promotes and supports lifelong engagement through learning, creative programming, and public service for adults in or near retirement in the greater Tucson area.

Volkmann was the Interim Vice President for Strategic Communications at Penn State University from October 1, 2013 until July 1, 2014. He came out of retirement to rebuild their internal and external relations program after the disastrous Sandusky scandal and to find his permanent successor.

He was named Vice Chancellor Emeritus on October 1, 2011, at Washington University in St. Louis -- after serving as Vice Chancellor for Public Affairs for 31 years. He was responsible for Washington University's overall communications and marketing efforts since 1980. Altogether, he managed more than 70 professionals and support staff in seven divisions on the Danforth and Medical Campuses.

Washington U is an independent teaching and research institution and has seven schools, more than 15,000 graduate and undergraduate students, 15,000 faculty and staff, and 135,000 alumni throughout the world. Students come from all 50 states and more than 120 other countries. Nearly 30,000 applications for undergraduate admission were received for the 1700 openings in the fall 2017 freshman class, making it one of America's most sought-after universities. The annual budget exceeds $3 billion, and its endowment is more than $7 billion.

Volkmann served on the executive committee of the Association of American Universities (AAU) Public Affairs Network from 1988 to 2010. He previously chaired the public affairs group of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU), and he served as a member of the governmental and public affairs committee of the American Council on Education (ACE).

An active member of the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) and its predecessor organizations, Volkmann served on CASE's international Board of Trustees from 1979 to 1985. He served as Chair of the Board in 1983-84. In 1987 he received CASE's Ashmore Service Award for his contributions to the institutional advancement profession. In July 2011 he was honored by CASE with its Lifetime Achievement Award for his accomplishments in academic advancement.

As a speaker at CASE seminars and district programs, Volkmann has lectured on admissions marketing, public relations, development communications and support, publications and periodicals, market research, and management. He is one of CASE's first two recipients of a Steuben Apple Award for excellence in teaching. CASE is one of the largest organizations serving education in America.

Volkmann also has conducted more than 70 public affairs reviews and assessments at leading colleges, universities and academic medical centers throughout the United States, as well as lecturing on higher education advancement in Great Britain, Australia, Indonesia, Hong Kong, China, Canada, and Mexico.

Volkmann has won numerous CASE awards for programs at Washington University, Ohio State University, and Albion College -- including grand awards and exceptional achievement awards for public relations, periodicals, publications, and videos. Volkmann has written many articles for CASE's magazine Currents, and he has contributed chapters in eight books on various aspects of advancement. In 1998 he wrote a 150-page section on educational communications and public relations for Aspen Publishing's book Excellence in Advancement.

He is the author of an introductory essay on communications for the CASE Handbook of Institutional Advancement, published in 2000, and has contributed the opening chapter for Attracting and Retaining Good Staff, published by CASE in 2001. He is a co-author of Excellence in Advancement, published by Aspen in 1998.

The first recipient of CASE's District 5 Distinguished Service Award, he has been active at both district and national levels. He founded and then edited CASE 5's award-winning newsletter for four years. In 1981 and 1982, he chaired the CASE Summer Institute in Communications, where he was a faculty member from 1979 until 1996.

The son of the Rev. Dr. Max F.B. Volkmann, a Congregational minister who later became a college professor, and Helen Hull Volkmann, director of a college library, Max Fredric Volkmann was born September 13, 1941, in a Hartford, Connecticut, hospital near to the parish served by his father in Riverton (a.k.a. Hitchcocksville). The family moved frequently, and Volkmann lived in North Carolina, New York, Nebraska, Minnesota and Iowa during his youth. A star runner at Roosevelt High School, he was a member of the team that won the Minnesota State Cross Country Championship in 1958-59. He also received a four-year Minneapolis Star-Tribune college scholarship.

Volkmann's career in education spans five decades and four academic institutions. A 1966 graduate of Iowa Wesleyan College, Volkmann was named the school's Director of Informational Services while he was a college senior. Previously, he had interned at the Minneapolis Star and Tribune (1960-63); served in photography, reporting, and advertising at the Mt. Pleasant (Iowa) News (1963-65); and had worked while he was a student as IWC's sports information director and news bureau writer (1963-65).

In 1967, he went to Albion College where he served successively as Manager of the News Bureau, College Editor, and Director of Information Services. In 1975, he was appointed Director of Publications and Special Projects at Ohio State University, and in 1979 was promoted to Director of University Relations. He joined Washington University in St. Louis in July 1980.

In addition to his professional activities, he has pursued numerous civic responsibilities in his community, and served on the board of directors of the Clayton Chamber of Commerce. In 2004 he completed a term on the executive committee of the board of directors of Citizens for Modern Transit, an organization that advocates for transportation reform in the St. Louis region, including the recently completed MetroLink line that serves four Washington U campuses in St. Louis. He served on the public relations council of the Danforth Plant Science Center. Also, he has served as president of the Albion (Michigan) United Fund, chair of the Michigan United Way State-wide Communications Seminars, and many other volunteer efforts. In 1984, he received Iowa Wesleyan College's Distinguished Alumni Award. In 2013 he was granted an honorary doctorate by Iowa Wesleyan at its May commencement, where he gave the keynote address.

He is married to Barbara Jean Drackley, and they live in Tucson, Arizona. They have three grown children.

School Story

My teacher, Oscar Yngve, asked me demonstrate to his class the 10,000 volt transformer I built from scratch in my garage, and to show some examples of the characteristics of high-voltage electricity. We set everything up, plugged in the system into a school wall socket, turned it on, and . . . . all went dark. The strain my homemade transformer put on Roosevelt's antiquated electrical system blew out the fuses for that entire section of the building. Needless to say, he was not happy -- but my classmates loved the interruption it caused.

Max Fredric 'Fred''s Latest Interactions

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Sep 13, 2020 at 4:33 AM
Jan 27, 2020 at 4:33 PM

Charlie Jirousek was a talented, unique person who marched to his own drummer.  We met in my junior year at RHS in 1957 and remained close friends ever since.  When I blinded myself that year, he freely gave of his time and effort to help me get through high school.  We stayed close for the next six years, until I moved to Iowa to finish college.  After that we maintained a long-distance friendship.

During those six years we had many adventures together, ranging from night-time smelt fishing on Lake Superior, to late-night excursions to the Dinkytown music scene, to road trips, and to even building and flying huge kites that lifted us off the ground -- and many more too numerous to recount here.  

As we narrowed focus about our futures, Charlie went to work for one of the world’s finest guitar makers – Gibson – after earning his degree at the U of Minnesota Forestry School, while I went my way in university communications and academic management.

Conversations with Charlie were always a delight as he transitioned to self-employment as a gifted luthier who built, repaired and collected stringed instruments – including guitars, mandolins, and ukuleles – through his company Arrowhead Music in Safety Harbor, Florida. Once he told me his personal collection included more than 200 instruments.

I will greatly miss his free spirit and his loyal friendship.

Max Fredric “Fred” Volkman

Past President, Arizona Senior Academy; Vice Chancellor Emeritus, Washington University in St. Louis; Past Vice President for Strategic Communications, Penn State University.

7812 South Galileo Lane, Tucson, Arizona 85747-9606

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