Lake and Sumter Style Magazine
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Sunday, February 28, 2021

Former Jeb Bush strategist named Beacon College vice president


Beacon College in downtown Leesburg is the first accredited baccalaureate institution dedicated to educating primarily students with learning disabilities, ADHD, dyslexia, and other learning differences. // Provided photo. 

Richard Killion, a 25-year veteran of higher education advancement and fundraising and a political strategist for three GOP presidential campaigns, was named vice president of institutional advancement at Beacon College in Leesburg, the first accredited baccalaureate institution dedicated to educating primarily students with learning disabilities, ADHD, dyslexia, and other learning differences.


He assumed his duties June 15.

Richard Killion

“Beacon is especially fortunate to have attracted a person and professional of Rich Killion’s caliber and reputation,” Dr. George J. Hagerty, president of Beacon College, says in a news release. “It is understandably meaningful for me, as Rich and I enjoy a history of close collaboration on projects that truly made a difference for the organizations to which we were dedicated. I am certain that his impact on Beacon and its future will be significant.”

Richard is in charged with providing strategic vision and oversight for the department primarily responsible for the college’s comprehensive fundraising campaign and communications with external stakeholders. He will primarily focus on the college’s current $10 million “Continuing the Journey” campaign, launched in 2019.

He succeeds Stephen Muller, who served in the role for six years. Stephen is retiring effective June 30.

“It is an honor to serve at Beacon College, where a rigorous undergraduate liberal arts education is focused on the needs of students with diagnosed learning disabilities,” Richard says in the release. “Beacon is committed to student success by providing pioneering academic, personal support, and career development services.  The significant graduation rates and career placement rates are a living testament to the dedication of the community that I am proud to join.”

Prior to joining Beacon, Richard co-founded and served as managing partner of the public affairs and strategic communications firm Elevare Communications for 16 years. At the Concord, New Hampshire company, he counseled CEOs, chairpersons, and other C-suite leadership on strategic communications and community engagement. He also operated as a general consultant to former New Hampshire Senate President Chuck Morse and was tapped as senior New Hampshire strategist for the state presidential primary campaigns of governors Jeb Bush, Mitt Romney, and Tim Pawlenty.

Richard also boasts a lengthy background in higher education.
At Franklin Pierce College (now Franklin Pierce University), he served under Dr. Hagerty in various leadership roles including director of corporate and government relations, director of public relations, director of development, and managing director of college relations.

Under his leadership as director of institutional advancement and capital campaigns, Richard oversaw Franklin Pierce’s first comprehensive capital campaign that exceeded the goal by $2 million and closed 18 months early.

From 2002-2004, he served as executive director of the Marlin Fitzwater Center for Communication at Franklin Pierce College. In that role, he functioned as the principal researcher for the Center for Applied Public Opinion Research and generated more than a half-dozen public opinion survey reports that nationally spotlighted the college during the 2004 Democratic presidential primary.

Richard earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from Stonehill College and holds a master’s degree in public administration from George Mason University.

The New Hampshire Union Leader recognized him in its “40 under 40” series of emerging leaders. Campaigns & Elections magazine ranked him among the state’s top 10 Republican influencers while National Journal similarly rated him among the top 10 political operatives in New Hampshire.

Richard is married to KelliAnn (Norden). They have two children, Sean and Alexander.