Founded in 1869, Ursinus College is a private, residential, liberal arts college located on a 170-acre suburban campus in Collegeville, Pennsylvania, 25 miles from downtown Philadelphia. With 1,500 students from 31 states, DC, and Puerto Rico, as well as 22 countries, Ursinus College, through the Quest Program - a signature element of the College’s academic experience, empowers students to think analytically, critically, and creatively across disciplines deepening their sense of human history, who they are as persons, what they ought to do as citizens, and how they best can appreciate the diversity and ambiguity of contemporary experience.
Ursinus College is consistently ranked in the top tier of National Liberal Arts Colleges and was one of five schools designated an “Up and Coming” college by U.S. News & World Report. With an organic farm and wooded trail system, Ursinus is one of the nation’s “Top Green” colleges.
Robyn E. Hannigan – Ursinus College’s 19th President
Robyn E. Hannigan, a globally recognized environmental scientist and thought leader who is currently the provost at Clarkson University in Potsdam, N.Y., has been appointed the 19th president of Ursinus College by the Ursinus Board of Trustees. She will begin on July 1, 2022.
Hannigan’s academic career has been defined by an unwavering commitment to expanding opportunity and fostering new knowledge for the common good. She is a prolific author of more than 100 peer-reviewed publications, owns four patents for advanced medical application technologies, and has leveraged her prowess for invention and innovation to create two start-up companies founded in partnership with students. An experienced fundraiser, Hannigan has secured over $70M in capital, endowment, and annual giving funds from multiple constituencies including alumni, corporations, and foundations.
Hannigan is the recipient of numerous awards, including the American Chemical Society’s Camile and Henry Dreyfus Award for Encouraging Disadvantaged Students into Careers in the Chemical Sciences, and is a fellow of the Geological Society of America and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Since 2019, Hannigan has served as provost of Clarkson University, a national research university and a leader in technical education through integrated curricular and co-curricular learning. Prior to her role at Clarkson, she was the founding dean of the School for the Environment at the University of Massachusetts Boston. She previously served as a program officer at the National Science Foundation and was a professor at Arkansas State University. Throughout her career, Hannigan says she has balanced innovation with opportunity.
Hannigan succeeds Brock Blomberg, who stepped down as president on September 1, 2021, and Jill Leauber Marsteller ’78, P’18, Ursinus’s former senior vice president for advancement who is currently serving as interim president of Ursinus—and is the college’s first female president—until June 30, 2022.
Hannigan earned a bachelor’s degree from The College of New Jersey, a master’s degree from SUNY Buffalo, and master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Rochester.
Hannigan joins Ursinus during a period of unprecedented growth for the college, as it is coming off the largest comprehensive campaign in its history, its recent sesquicentennial celebration, and now, the launch of its next strategic plan, Every Student’s Success.
Through the strategic growth and development of a highly integrated advancement division, Ursinus successfully capitalized on the community’s enthusiasm for the 150th anniversary. The Keep the Promise comprehensive campaign culminated in 2020, raising $107 million from nearly 14,400 donors, almost 7,800 of whom were first-time donors. Twenty-eight million dollars was raised for the endowment, which now stands at $155 million. And due in large part to the community’s generosity, there are 65 new endowed or Annual Fund scholarships—and $17 million in newly endowed faculty, scholarship, and student support. The largest gift in Ursinus history, made in 2020, was $11M to support a scholarship program aimed at students from lower-middle income families.
Ursinus College closed the 2021 fiscal year (July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021) having raised $11,683,473 in total gifts received from 3,638 donors. This includes approximately $3.7 million for the Annual Fund, which provides crucial unrestricted support for the college, and more than $264,741 in cash and securities for the Bear2Bear Student Emergency Fund.
With over 18,000 alumni located throughout the country, Ursinus graduates are part of an important network of Bears for Life. Represented by an active Alumni Council, engaged and supportive alumni demonstrate the impact of the liberal arts experience by playing an important role in the college community long after graduation. A wealth screen, completed over the last 18 months, shows 15,000 alumni with capacity above $10,000 and 2,600 with capacity above $100,000.
For additional information on Ursinus College, please visit their website at https://www.ursinus.edu/.
Reporting to the President, the Vice President for Advancement is responsible for the leadership and management of a comprehensive advancement program including fundraising and external engagement of key audiences. Supported by the Director of Operations in the President’s Office, the Vice President serves as Secretary to the Board of Trustees and is the primary liaison to the Board directly supporting the Advancement and Trusteeship Committees. Managing 8 direct reports and 25 total advancement staff, the Vice President will serve as the chief fundraising officer for the College responsible for all activities related to identification, cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship of annual, major, principal, and planned gifts from alumni, parents, friends, and institutions. The Vice President will also serve as the chief architect and strategist for future campaigns. The Vice President will be expected to form strong campus partnerships as well as external relationships to advance the important work of the College overall. As a member of the College’s senior leadership team and a member of President Hannigan’s cabinet, the Vice President will become an integral member of the close-knit college community.
Strategic Leadership and Management
- Serve as the President’s primary advisor on all matters of advancement.
- Work closely with the President on Board, donor, and external relations, that strategically position the College with opportunities for greater visibility, high level partnerships, and fundraising.
- Serve as a strong partner and collaborative participant on the President’s Cabinet in executing the mission and vision of the College.
- Evaluate existing philanthropic strengths and build systems and infrastructure that support and advance long-term growth and fundraising goals.
- Utilize the time and talents of the President, Trustees, senior administration, faculty, and staff to increasingly engage, cultivate, and solicit benefactors.
- Vet, recruit, retain, and solicit all new and existing members of the Board of Trustees in partnership with the chairs of Trusteeship and Advancement Committees.
- Direct, coach, evaluate, mentor, and inspire the Advancement team to ensure that programs and activities advance Ursinus’s goals in ways that are data-driven and outcomes are measurable, allocating time and resources effectively.
- Model and encourage effective habits of collaboration within the wider Ursinus community – involving faculty, staff, and students – to keep them informed of the status of fundraising efforts and to learn about their needs and suggestions both individually and for their departments and organizations.
- Develop a comprehensive metric-driven program across annual giving, major gifts, planned giving, alumni relations, corporate and foundation relations, government grants, events, and advancement services and communications.
- Work to ensure that single and multi-year development goals are strategically planned, thoughtfully implemented, accurately communicated, and successfully achieved in accordance with departmental and organizational mission.
- Lead a fundraising team to identify, cultivate, solicit, and secure funds and resources that enable the College to accomplish its mission and strategic goals.
- Manage a portfolio of 75-100 donors; actively engage in the cultivation, direct solicitation, and stewardship of those with significant wealth and giving potential.
- Encourage the utilization of diverse strategies and blended gifts to enhance support to the College through gift planning which is essential to building the college’s future endowment.
- Support and grow annual giving initiatives, through donations and participation, with a goal of broadening the base of support and increasing multi-year commitments with an emphasis on retention.
- Oversee donor relations to ensure effective stewardship of donors and help inform strategy for donor recognition societies, scholarship programs, and individualized and lifetime donor stewardship programs.
- Oversee Advancement Services and Prospect Management and its interrelationship with other campus departments.
- Support the identification and pursuit of new opportunities for fundraising from corporations and foundations.
- Seek to develop relationships both on and off campus in support of strategic initiatives of the College (i.e., Philly X, internships, externships, and so forth).
- Oversee the engagement of external audiences through existing alumni, parent, faculty/staff, and friend networks of volunteer groups and recognition societies that include but are not limited to: a future campaign executive committee, the Tower Society, the Alumni Council, the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Alumni Working Group, the Parent’s Leadership Council, the 1869 Society, and the Sycamore Club.
- Oversee and support fundraising in partnership with faculty and staff with particular emphasis on the Berman Museum of Art, and interdisciplinary centers and institutes including the U-Imagine Center for Integrative and Entrepreneurial Studies, Parlee Center for Science and the Common Good, Melrose Center for Global Civic Engagement, the Institute for Inclusion and Equity, and the Institute for Student Success.
- Collaborate with the President and the Board of Trustees to plan and implement a campaign aligned with the current strategic plan and future vision for Ursinus College.
- Lead development efforts in support of strategic priorities, including supporting the work of comprehensive campaigns.
- Drive campaign strategy and messaging.
- Identify key potential donors and develop individualized engagement strategies.
- Assign key potential donors to major gift officers and other staff.
- Ensure access to key resources, personnel, and support staff before and during the campaign.
Alumni Relations and Events
- Oversee development, implementation, and assessment of a strategic and tactical plan for alumni and parent relations that includes off- and on-campus engagement, communication, and life-long learning programs with an approach that is systematic and results driven.
- Assure development of new relationships with alumni and parents, building a culture of engagement while encouraging philanthropic support.
- Support a culture of continuous improvement in alumni and parent relations.
- Oversee development and continued support for alumni organizations with avenues for engaging alumni with current students, academic programs, centers, and institutes.
- Ensure that faculty, staff, and students are engaged in the design of, and participation in, alumni activities, especially on campus.
Requirements and Qualifications
The Vice President for Advancement must have an understanding of and passion for the goals and mission of a dynamic and inclusive liberal arts college with a local, national, and international presence. The ability to design engagement and fundraising strategies related to the educational objectives and institutional vision of Ursinus College will be essential to the success of the incoming Vice President. The successful candidate must have a track record of experiences that include knowledge of strategies and best practices proven effective in development and alumni relations coupled with proven success utilizing data and metrics as a cornerstone for evaluating success. The Vice President should have an entrepreneurial spirit, be willing to listen to novel ideas, take risks, and effectively collaborate with the Ursinus community.
- Fifteen (15) years of increasingly responsible positions in advancement, including five (5) years in a senior leadership role, with a preference for higher education experience.
- Visionary and strategic planning capabilities to be applied toward the development of an innovative fundraising program and the leadership necessary to ensure its successful implementation.
- Proven success in achieving fundraising goals and a successful track record of cultivating, soliciting, and securing major and principal gifts.
- Demonstrated success as a major gifts officer and/or experience overseeing Major Gifts Office, leading teams, implementing a strategic vision, and meeting aspirational goals.
- Ability to prioritize and plan work activities, use time efficiently, and develop strategic plans for the Department overall in conjunction with the College’s overarching strategic plan.
- Strong analytical and management skills, marked by a collaborative leadership style, a desire to innovate, and the ability to develop and mentor a staff and set an example for others.
- Broad exposure to all facets of development, including annual giving, major gifts, planned giving, corporate and foundation giving, government grants, donor relations, advancement communications, comprehensive and campaign planning and implementation, and data management and analysis.
- Understanding of and capacity to help build systems and infrastructure that support and advance fundraising goals.
- Ability to think critically, strategically, and creatively about the tasks and progress of the advancement program and ability to analyze both quantitative and qualitative information to assist in assessing the success of the program.
- Project executive presence and possess superior communication skills to express, orally and in writing, Ursinus College’s mission, vision, and goals with clarity, passion, and persuasion.
- Exceptional interpersonal skills demonstrated by the ability to interact effectively and appropriately engage with all the constituencies of the college community including senior administration, staff, faculty, trustees, alumni, parents, donors, and prospects.
- Capable of building collaborative relationships and effectively navigating across a highly engaged academic community and a diverse alumni and constituent base.
- Ability to work within a community that expects collaboration, collegiality, and open communication, to delegate responsibilities, and to engage in the community life of a small, liberal arts college.
- Demonstrated ability to lead, take initiative, and work collaboratively as a member of a team.
- Self-starter who can think strategically, analytically, and entrepreneurially.
- Possess integrity, warmth, confidence, a positive outlook, a good sense of humor, and an outgoing and engaging personality.
- Bachelor’s degree; advanced degree preferred; CFRE preferred.
- Both local and national travel required. Willing and able to work nights and weekends as needed.
Ursinus College does not discriminate on grounds of race, color, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, religion, age, creed, ancestry, veteran status, marital status, disability, or other classification protected by applicable law in the administration of any of its educational programs or activities or with respect to employment.
Ursinus College is offering a highly competitive compensation package.
For inquiries, nominations, and applications, please contact:
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