1780 – The Official Blog of Transylvania University

1780 | The Official Blog of Transylvania University

Alumna gives back to her alma mater as new Transylvania VP for advancement

Image of Kara Little Covert '90, Transy's new VP for advancement

Kara Little Covert ’90 knows what makes Transylvania special better than nearly anyone. It’s where she earned her undergraduate degree, got engaged to her now-husband on the steps of Old Morrison, and made lifelong friends. It’s the campus her son, Evan, grew up exploring. And this Friday, it’s where she will take on a new role — as Transylvania’s vice president for advancement.

Covert’s new title is the culmination of a career spent in service to her alma mater. Covert, who holds a bachelor’s in psychology from Transylvania and a master’s of education in institutional advancement from Vanderbilt University, previously worked in admissions and advancement roles at Transylvania, in addition to stints at Eastern Kentucky University and Washington University in St. Louis. Most recently, she served as associate vice president for advancement at Transy, where she has now worked for a total of 21 years.

“I have greatly appreciated all I’ve learned from the other institutions at which I’ve worked,” Covert reflected. “Yet, something continued to pull me back here.” 

Maybe Transy is simply in her DNA; her parents Reece and Sandy Johnson Little ’62 are both Transylvania alumni, as is her brother, Brett Little ’94. “I grew up hearing about how amazing Transy was,” Covert said, adding that she remembers her mother telling the story of how, as a young alumna, she got her first teaching job on the spot when the hiring manager was also a Transy graduate. “That story set an early understanding of how connected and important alumni are to my alma mater.”

Covert earned a full-ride William T. Young Scholarship to Transylvania in 1986 — a gift from the university that inculcated the desire to give back. With parents who worked as public school teachers and two siblings, “it would have been impossible for me to attend Transy without the scholarship assistance — regardless of how much I wanted to come and how much my parents wanted me to be here,” she reflected. 

Her education was made possible through the generosity of donors, and her knowledge that finances impact every aspect of a student’s college experience has colored her work as an advancement professional.  

“I love that my job now encompasses encouraging others to invest in our phenomenal current students,” she said. “They deserve that from those of us who have experienced a great life, in large part due to Transy.”

In her new role overseeing the Office of Alumni and Development, Covert now fosters relationships with her fellow alumni, as well as other friends of the university. She has seen the university change during her time as a staff member while still retaining that special distinguishing character that makes it Transy. 

“The campus and people change and progress, yet being a part of our alma mater’s legacy makes it all the sweeter to help form its future,” she said. “To know that I walk in the footsteps of so many people who attended and served the campus is the greatest honor. I believe in our past, our present and our future, and I only wish all Transy alumni and friends could meet the current Pioneers.”

One of the many joys of her job is getting to work with her fellow alumni — other members of the class of 1990 who currently work on campus include Tracy Dunn, assistant dean for academic affairs; Brian Lane, head coach of men’s basketball and men’s golf; Sharon Prevette, senior programmer/analyst; and Tiffany Wheeler, associate professor of education and associate dean for academic affairs.

President Brien Lewis said Covert will be a great asset to Transylvania’s leadership team. 

“Not only does Kara bring a remarkable record of service to the institution, but as an alumna, she also understands Transylvania’s commitment to a remarkable liberal arts education in a deep and personal way,” he said. “This uniquely qualifies her to lead our dedicated team of development and alumni professionals.”

It’s Covert’s love for her alma mater that makes her the ideal candidate for a role focused on encouraging alumni, parents and friends to give to the university that has given her so much.

“When I think about my life, every piece of it has been impacted by Transy,” she reflected. “My parents met and fell in love here. I married a fellow Transy graduate, Michael Covert ’91, vice president for student life and dean of students, and we now work here together. My best friends are fellow Transy alumni. And the strongest mentors throughout my life have all been faculty, staff, older students, alumni and friends connected to the university.”

As she begins her new role this week, Covert also suggested a unique way to share congratulations with her: by participating in Together for Transy and supporting today’s and tomorrow’s Pioneers. 

“I can think of no better investment than Transylvania,” she said. “A Transy education provides a terrific environment to explore ideas, concepts, differing opinions and your own interests and viewpoints. Those are the qualities that make a college education valuable. Transy educated all of us who are alumni about how to truly live well. It is up to us to pass that on to the next generation.”