Leon Jackson III was named Senior Associate Athletic Director and Assistant Vice Chancellor for Advancement at the University of Colorado on December 13, 2021.
Jackson will officially join the department on January 1, when he will oversee all areas of CU Boulder’s athletic advancement efforts, including fundraising and engagement efforts through the Buff Club. In his two years at Pitt, he created several innovative strategies and tactics at Pitt, helping bring the Panthers’ fundraising to record levels.
Jackson, 36, is actually returning to some previous and extensive Rocky Mountain regional roots; he lettered four years as a quarterback and punter (2004-07) at Utah State University, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in Political Science in 2007. After two years of playing professionally in Europe, he returned to his alma mater where he joined the football staff in 2010, earned his Master of Education in 2012 and then held several different positions in the Aggies’ athletic department before moving on to Kansas State in 2015.
Jackson joined the Pittsburgh staff in November of 2019 as the Panthers’ associate athletics director for major gifts. He was charged with identifying, cultivating and securing major gift commitments for Pitt Athletics’ $300 million Victory Heights Capital Campaign and its 750 student-athletes, spirit squads, and marching band. In addition, he was the development liaison for the women’s gymnastics, women’s basketball, and women’s lacrosse programs.
Prior to his time at Pitt, Jackson spent the previous four years (2015-19) at Kansas State University. As a member of the Wildcat staff, he was the director of annual giving for K-State’s Ahearn Fund, overseeing the department’s $18.3 million annual giving unit. He directed all premium seat sale efforts (to 97 percent capacity) and managed a major gift portfolio of 90 donors in support of a near record-setting $44.4 million in giving toward KSU athletics and in support of its 450 student-athletes. For his first three years in Manhattan, he was a member on K-State’s expanded senior athletic staff as the director of ticket services. In that role, Jackson led a record-setting ticketing unit and was the direct contact for football and men’s basketball.
Jackson enjoyed a solid playing career at Utah State. As a senior in 2007, he completed 65.4 percent of his passes (151-of-231) which set a school single-season record; he threw for 1,576 yards and nine touchdowns with only four interceptions. He earned second-team All-Western Athletic Conference honors as a punter, averaging 41.3 yards per punt with 16 inside-the-20.
Following his collegiate career, Jackson completed a five-month internship as a legislative intern on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. He then spent two seasons playing professional football overseas in France and Austria in the European Football League.
After he retired from football, he returned to the United States and Logan, Utah at his alma mater, where he first served as an offensive administrative assistant for Utah State’s football team in 2010, and then as an external operations graduate assistant for the 2011-12 academic and athletic year. His first full time job came the next year, when he was promoted to director of events/internal operations for the athletic department in July 2012. The following June, he transitioned into ticketing as the assistant director of ticketing and customer service, and after one year in that role, he was quickly elevated to the department’s senior staff as the director in that same area, overseeing the entire ticket office staff of 17 when the Aggies set a then-record of 10,700 season tickets.
A native of Los Angeles, he was an all-CIF performer at Long Beach Poly High School, which was ranked second in the nation his senior year when he was his league’s Most Valuable Player. He is married to the former Nicki Felley, a four-year letterwinner on Utah State’s gymnastics team and the couple has three children, Josiah, Kyndal, and Isaac.