Regional President, USO Central Region

Nationally recognized philanthropic strategist and nonprofit veteran, Dr. Gary Cole serves the USO as its Central Region President providing operational leadership and direction to meet the changing needs of service members and their families within eight states (Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, New Mexico, Kansas, Missouri, Colorado, and Wyoming) by keeping them connected to family, home, and country. The USO’s Central Region provides services to Active Duty, Guard and Reserve, and their families in eight airport centers, on 14 installations, at six military entrance processing locations, and in the field through mobile units.

Prior to joining the USO, Gary served as Chief Development Officer for the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute in Simi Valley, California. At the Reagan Foundation, he oversaw revenue generation and membership programs in support of the Reagan Library and The Ronald Reagan Institute.

Throughout his 33-year career in the nonprofit sector, Gary has also held executive leadership positions at the University of Texas at Arlington, the second largest university in the UT System and Texas-based Cook Children’s Health Foundation, supporting Cook Children’s Health System. Serving as Executive Vice President and Principal at Dallas-based Pursuant, Gary oversaw a national team of consultants and led the integration of the nation’s oldest fundraising consultancy (Ketchum) with Pursuant’s twenty-first century, data-driven comprehensive fundraising strategies serving the nation’s best-in-class nonprofits ranging from universities and health systems to collegiate athletics and faith-based ministries. A practitioner-scholar in organized philanthropy, Gary is a proponent of lifelong learning and a highly sought speaker on the changing nature of organized philanthropy in America.

A former member of the faculty of St. Mary’s University of Minnesota’s Master of Arts in Philanthropy & Development program, Gary taught a graduate course in Resource Management for nonprofit leaders focusing on nonprofit finance and gift accounting, fundraiser performance management, strategic planning,and the deployment of new technologies in donor cultivation, engagement, and solicitation.

Gary obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in Technical Communication from Texas Tech University, a Master of Arts degree in Philanthropy and Development from St. Mary’s University of Minnesota, and a Doctor of Education degree with an emphasis on Organizational Leadership from Nova Southeastern University.