Association of Graduates and Air Force Academy Foundation Boards Name Hille CEO and Gould Executive Vice Chair
New roles will be effective Jan. 1, 2024
The boards of the nonprofit Association of Graduates and Air Force Academy Foundation announced the naming of Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Mike Gould, USAFA Class of 1976, as executive vice chair and Mark Hille, USAFA Class of 1997, as CEO, effective Jan. 1, 2024.
Both boards agreed and voted unanimously to approve Gen. Gould as executive vice chair and Hille as CEO in their regularly scheduled August meetings. Gen. Gould and Hille assume their new duties effective Jan. 1, 2024.
In 2020, the AOG and Foundation boards combined their complementary efforts under a shared purpose, naming Gen. Gould, who served as USAFA’s 18th superintendent (2009-2013), as the CEO to lead the unification. In September 2021, Gen. Gould and the two boards named Hille, who had served until that time as president and COO of the Air Force Academy Foundation, as president of both the AOG and Foundation.
With Gen. Gould and Hille at the helm, the AOG and Foundation boards in 2022 approved a joint vision, mission and strategic plan. The mission encompasses each organization’s unique strengths: “Together, we support the Academy, serve our graduates and preserve the heritage of the institution.” The AOG and Foundation, though unified under the shared vision, mission and strategy, will continue to exist as separate nonprofits, each governed by their respective boards, with some joint committees to ensure alignment.
In his new role as CEO, Hille will report to both boards and oversee strategic direction and operations to achieve greater impact for graduates, the Academy and the heritage of the institution. He will lead the staff and continue to work closely with the boards and the CFO, Katie Willemarck, CPA, to implement a single-employer structure to more efficiently administer employee compensation and benefits.
As executive vice chair, Gen. Gould, who served for 38 years in the Air Force before retiring as USAFA superintendent, will occupy an ex officio voting position on both boards of directors. He will advise the boards, focus on high-level strategic efforts at the USAFA, U.S. Air Force and U.S. Space Force levels, and continue to champion the joint mission and vision.
“When our boards met in August, it was clear from our discussion that Mike Gould, Mark Hille and their staff have done remarkable work in unifying the Association of Graduates and Air Force Academy Foundation,” Maj. Gen. (Ret.) Brian Bishop, USAFA Class of 1983, chair of the AOG board, and Alex Gilbert, USAFA Class of 1987, chair of the Air Force Academy Foundation board, said in a joint statement. “The unification isn’t just in spirit; it’s throughout the new vision, mission and strategy.”
Gilbert and Gen. Bishop added: “As executive vice chair, Mike will provide the high-level view and deep understanding and experience of a retired senior flag officer and former USAFA superintendent. As CEO, Mark will continue to bring his broad experience in higher education advancement and nonprofit leadership to thoughtfully guide our organization into an exciting future of influence and impact on behalf of USAFA graduates, our Academy and our heritage.”
“Serving as CEO of the Association of Graduates and Air Force Academy Foundation has been one of the greatest honors of my life and career,” Gen. Gould said. “When the boards asked me to help lead the unification of our Association and Foundation, it was clear to me this would be important, hard work in service to our graduates and would help elevate the ways we support our Academy and the cadets. Looking back on all we’ve achieved together, I’m extremely proud of our progress, how hard our boards and staff have worked, and how passionate we all are for the USAFA mission: To develop leaders of character for the Air Force and Space Force.”
Gen. Gould added: “Although I am moving into a new role and will no longer lead day-to-day operations and the strategic direction, my focus will stay on our grads, our Academy and our proud heritage. I couldn’t be prouder of Mark Hille as our new CEO, and I commend our boards on selecting him. He brings what we need, now and into the future.”
Gen. Gould pointed to the public launch of the Defining Our Future comprehensive campaign, the expansion of membership in the AOG to all graduates and the securing of financing for the TrueNorth Commons development at the Academy’s North Gate as key achievements.
Upon completing his active duty in the U.S. Air Force in 2003, Hille entered higher education advancement, including spending more than two years at the Association of Graduates. He then joined the Air Force Academy Foundation, then known as the USAFA Endowment, as principal gift officer for the Holaday Athletic Center and the Center for Character and Leadership Development. He was the Endowment’s first employee.
“I am deeply honored to serve as CEO of the Association of Graduates and Air Force Academy Foundation,” Hille said. “Although my career has brought many exciting opportunities, I have never forgotten where it all started: at the United States Air Force Academy as a cadet, in my first assignment as a second lieutenant and in my first job with our Association.”
He added: “In 2020, I had an opportunity to come back to Doolittle Hall and serve by overseeing the planning and launch of the public phase of our Defining Our Future comprehensive campaign and by helping bring our alumni association and Foundation together under a new mission. While we’ve come far, much important work remains to increase our relevance in the lives of all graduates, enhance the value of membership, broaden participation and expand support of our Academy’s excellence in developing leaders of character — a mission that unites all of us.”
Hille served from 2013 to 2020 in the advancement office at Colorado College, completing his tenure there as vice president of the division. At Colorado College, he led efforts in its successful $465 million campaign, with responsibility for alumni relations and development functions across the institution.
Gen. Bishop and Gilbert thanked all who have contributed over years and decades to and through the Association and Foundation.
“We thank those among us who have served the Long Blue Line, whether as an AOG or Foundation board director, within chapter and affinity group leadership, as a class senator, or by selflessly giving their time, talent and treasure to support USAFA cadets and our Academy’s mission. We stand on the shoulders of those who came before us and are grateful for all the ways they contributed and found common ground as a brotherhood and sisterhood.”
About the Association of Graduates and Air Force Academy Foundation
The Association of Graduates and Air Force Academy Foundation exist to serve USAFA graduates, support the Academy in its mission to develop leaders of character for the Air Force and Space Force, and preserve the heritage of the institution.
Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Mike Gould '76