Graduate Program: Master of Arts in Nonprofit Leadership Studies (MA)
Denise McDonald ‘19 MA enrolled in Lynchburg’s Master of Arts in Nonprofit Leadership Studies program because, as she puts it, “I wanted to explore something new and expand my knowledge of nonprofits and how they operate.”
At the time, she was a vice president at the University of Lynchburg working in advancement. As such, she was familiar with the MA program, its “outstanding faculty” and “strong record of involvement with nonprofit work and service learning.”
Choosing Lynchburg for her master’s degree was “the logical choice,” she added.
Today, McDonald is executive director of Old City Cemetery Museum and Arboretum, a 27-acre historic cemetery and garden in downtown Lynchburg.
“Our mission as a nonprofit is to engage the community through history and horticulture,” she said.
She leads a team of five employees and organizes, plans, and directs the cemetery’s programs and events, including the annual Antique Rose Festival and Candlelight Tours. She also manages the cemetery’s finances, board governance, and fundraising efforts.
McDonald praised the MA faculty for “teaching the crucial communication skills we all need in any career,” providing “meaningful independent study” opportunities, offering “a very thought-provoking class in leadership,” bringing “social media into perspective,” and answering a host of questions.
“The master’s in nonprofit leadership studies has given me valuable strategic direction in how to manage a nonprofit and keep it moving forward, especially in challenging times,” she said.