Vice President for University Advancement

Vice President for University Advancement
Position Description

The University of Oregon (UO) seeks to appoint the next vice president for university advancement. University Advancement (UA) supports the UO’s mission of providing exceptional teaching, discovery, and service by strategically positioning the university to create awareness, build long-term relationships, and secure resources that increase understanding and further its aims. The division consists of approximately two hundred employees primarily working out of Eugene, with a significant presence in Portland. We are committed to fostering equity and inclusion in a welcoming, safe, and respectful environment that recognizes the value of all members of our community.

The Position

The Vice President for University Advancement (VP-UA) is a visionary leader for aligning the University of Oregon’s external activities and partnerships to support and achieve an ambitious and aspirational academic vision. The VP-UA provides leadership for the university’s fundraising, alumni engagement, and related programs. The vice president serves as the institution’s chief fundraising officer, leading strategy for the overall fundraising program and cultivating and soliciting the UO’s top, transformational donors.

The VP-UA serves as a member of the president’s executive leadership team, working closely with senior administrative and faculty leadership to evaluate university priorities and to design and recommend strategies to achieve those objectives. The VP-UA is an ex-officio member of the University of Oregon Foundation (UOF) Board of Trustees and its executive committee as well as the University of Oregon Alumni Association (UOAA) Board of Directors.

Reporting to the university’s newly appointed leader, President Karl Scholz, the VP-UA works closely with the president, the provost, the deans of the schools and colleges, and university vice presidents within the administration. The VP-UA is responsible for building a close partnership with the UOF. The VP-UA’s immediate portfolio includes a team of senior leaders specializing in development, stewardship, communications, advancement strategies, and alumni relations, including direct supervision of the Executive Director of the University of Oregon Alumni Association (UOAA, a separate 501(c)(3) staffed through the UO). As a senior leader of a complex division, the VP-UA drives internal equity and inclusion while advancing university priorities and programs that build diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging on campus.

This leader is also responsible for creating, leading, and sustaining a healthy, inclusive culture amongst University Advancement staff, advancing equity, encouraging collaboration across silos, identifying, and encouraging opportunities for innovation and strategic thought partnership, and mentoring and coaching staff. The leader is expected to build a robust staff, structure and infrastructure, such as state of the art data tracking and collection tools, to serve fundraising needs of the university for the foreseeable future.

This position is field-oriented, requiring frequent travel and direct contact with donors and donor prospects.

Specific Duties and Responsibilities

Fundraising and Development Strategy

  • Lead all efforts in advancement strategic planning that aligns with university goals and objectives and implementing a comprehensive campaign by developing annual and long-range plans for all university fundraising programs, including capital, annual, and planned-giving.
  • Act as the primary principal gift strategist for campus. Cultivate, solicit, and steward a select portfolio of principal gift prospects, leading transformational donor opportunities on behalf of the university.
  • Partner directly with the president of the university on the role of advancement and philanthropy in shaping and realizing the institution’s vision and academic mission.
  • Maintain a student-centered focus on fundraising and development that advances the needs of students and supports their success.
  • Create and manage a program that engages the enthusiastic support of a strong core of volunteers and directs its work in support of the university’s fundraising and engagement priorities.
  • Foster strong, productive, and supportive partnerships across the university to identify new creative opportunities and integrate constituent-based and central fundraising goals. Work with deans and VPs to increase and support their development efforts and capabilities, to enhance collaboration across colleges and programs, and to cultivate the next generation of major donors.
  • Provide vision and direction to a comprehensive advancement program, including annual, mid- level, major gift, principal and planned-giving; corporate and foundation giving; prospect development, engagement, communications, and stewardship.
  • In collaboration with university and UOF leadership and campus colleagues, develop and implement a long-term strategy for enhancing UO’s development programs and annual fundraising levels.

Strategic Leadership

  • Provide the university’s advancement office with effective, curious, creative, and strategic leadership.
  • Develop and execute programs and events that produce measurable results and visibility for the university.
  • Actively engage academic leadership and the broader faculty in developing fundraising and alumni engagement priorities and activities, as well as recognizing educational and research accomplishments. Work in collaboration with academic and administrative leadership to build a compelling case for private gifts that support identified priorities of key programs, the schools and colleges, and the broader university.
  • Oversee the university’s overall relationship with the UOAA to increase the role of alumni in advocacy, giving, and volunteerism on campus.
  • Partner closely with government relations, state affairs, community relations, and advocacy efforts, fostering partnerships with areas within development, the UOAA, and other alumni engagement efforts.
  • Partner closely with University Communications on the overall external agenda, brand, and strategy of the university, especially in the implementation of institutional-wide campaigns.
  • Prepare and administer a comprehensive development budget that utilizes resources to meet university objectives and provides realistic revenue and expense projections.
  • Design and implement strategies to support the university’s articulated diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging objectives.
  • Sponsor, advance and evolve the University Advancement’s own equity goals and organizational objectives.
  • Represent the university to a broad range of constituencies, including trustees, students, alumni, local community, friends, faculty and staff, senior corporate executives, government officials, and foundations.
  • Foster a strong partnership with the University of Oregon Foundation.
  • Promote a professional workplace culture of mutual respect, collegiality, and collaboration for all members and affiliates of the institution.
  • Other duties as assigned by the president.


  • Oversee the recruitment, management, training, retention and evaluation of highly qualified professional and support staff in the University Advancement organization. Ensure the presence of an infrastructure to foster staff success, develop a strong sense of teamwork, and establish an environment of mentoring and support.
  • Manage and coach advancement leaders. Mentor and facilitate the growth of advancement’s senior leaders towards success.
  • Employee Supervision:
    • Model positive and respectful interpersonal and group communication; lead by example in matters related to compliance, ethics, logistics, and technical requirements for supervision and leadership.
    • Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging: Ensure that the direct reports feel welcome in the workplace. Be proactive to ensure that individuals of all backgrounds and identities feel welcome and included across the organization, to fulfill the mission, embody the values and achieve the overarching goals and vision of advancement promoting a professional workplace of mutual respect and collaboration for all colleagues across campus.
    • Employee Development: Act as a facilitator of professional growth by providing team members with development and mentorship opportunities.
    • Organizational Success: Position individuals, teams, and programs to fulfill the mission, embody the values, and achieve the overarching goals and vision of advancement.
  • Financial Oversight: Maintain management practices that are fiscally responsible and in compliance with departmental and university policies. Build a sustainable, strategic budget model for advancement activities and priorities.

Professional Proficiencies and Competencies

  • Working with donors and prospects: Demonstrated ability to build comprehensive 3–5-year donor strategies, cultivate families as well as individuals, maximize gift potential, and solicit major gifts. Established ability navigating seven-figure asks and complex asset management discussions. Ability to interact with high-level donors and maintain a high level of professionalism, discretion, and confidentiality.
  • Leadership: Effective leadership skills and executive presence, including the ability to regularly mentor and steward a broader team towards success. Ability to lead task forces and organizational maturation initiatives. Inclination to regularly provide learning opportunities and resources for growing and high-potential team members. Ability to create and communicate an organization- wide vision. Ability to drive and inform budget strategy that aligns with academic and institutional priorities.
  • Institutional navigation and industry knowledge: High level of knowledge and experience managing and navigating institutions, with the ability to take a leadership role in using past successes and failures to inform new strategies. Ability to maintain effective partnerships with on- and off-campus partners to develop, create and articulate the narrative of new programs and initiatives. Ability to help to shape the university’s overall strategic plan.
  • Management and supervision of employees: Demonstrated ability to manage leaders and set the tone for successful teams, empowering them to proactively partner with senior staff and campus affiliates. Ability to act as a driver in recruiting, developing and retaining a high caliber staff, building a team, and creatively organizing and managing them to maximize the support of external constituencies; a willingness to empower others to get the job done while providing the support they need.
  • Volunteer management: Demonstrated ability to manage volunteers and boards, including working successfully with volunteers and academic leadership on strategic direction and priority- setting for the board. Ability to align volunteer strategy with cross-campus initiatives, positioning experienced volunteers with key needs on campus. Ability to leverage volunteers in fundraising and advocacy strategy.
  • Academic leadership: Ability to act as a core advisor and partner to the president, provost and senior academic leaders, including collaborating to set overall academic initiatives, philanthropic priorities, and correlating fundraising strategy. Ability to build consensus and strategy that inspires transformational opportunities.
  • Strategic planning: Ability to provide leadership in campus-wide discussions of new initiatives, capital project planning, strategic staffing, and trends in the industry. Ability to communicate and articulate how individual initiatives, programmatic direction, and overall advancement strategy will shape the university. Leadership in aligning alumni engagement, annual philanthropy, central development and academic leadership with regard to priorities, donor strategy, and the university’s overall external brand.
  • Ability to interact, communicate, and work effectively with individuals, recognizing and respecting the many and interconnected identities of individuals.
  • Commitment to promoting and enhancing diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging.

The Search Committee encourages those who have demonstrated a track record on the issues outlined above to apply to lead the university advancement’s next ambitious era. To ensure success in the role, it is preferred the next vice president have the following qualifications:

  • Bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution or an equivalent combination of education and experience.
  • 10 Years of progressively responsible senior leadership experience in development with a demonstrated track record of successful fundraising; or an equivalent combination of experience, skills or education in lieu of the minimum years of experience listed above.
  • Leadership experience in the design, planning, implementation, management, and successful conclusion of a major campaign.
  • Experience in supervision and management, including experience in managing other leaders at a senior staff or executive level within a complex organization.
  • A demonstrated commitment to diversity, evidenced through a track record of advancing equity goals and long-standing institutional partnerships around diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging.

Other preferred qualifications include:

  • Experience in cultivating and soliciting transformational philanthropic gifts with an ability to facilitate giving opportunities across academic specialties and schools.
  • Advanced degree from an accredited institution.
  • Experience in solicitation of nine-figure gifts.
  • Fifteen years of progressively responsible development experience.
  • Experience in development at a major research university.
  • Experience in development at an educational institution in which balancing and collaboration between academics and athletics fundraising is required.

Land Acknowledgement

The University of Oregon is located on Kalapuya Ilihi, the traditional indigenous homeland of the Kalapuya people. Following treaties between 1851 and 1855, Kalapuya people were dispossessed of their indigenous homeland by the United States government and forcibly removed to the Coast Reservation in Western Oregon. Today, descendants are citizens of the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde Community of Oregon and the Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians of Oregon, and continue to make important contributions in their communities, at UO, and across the land we now refer to as Oregon.

We express our respect for all federally recognized Tribal Nations of Oregon. This includes the Burns Paiute Tribe, the Confederated Tribes of Coos, Lower Umpqua and Siuslaw Indians, the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde Community of Oregon, the Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians of Oregon, the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, the Coquille Indian Tribe, the Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Tribe of Indians, and the Klamath Tribes. We also express our respect for all other displaced Indigenous peoples who call Oregon home.

Search Team and Contact Information

The Search Committee invites nominations, applications (a letter of interest, full curriculum vitae or resume, and the names and contact information of five or more references) or expressions of interest to be forwarded to the search firm assisting The University of Oregon (electronic submissions preferred). Confidential review of materials will begin immediately and continue until the position is filled. All nominations and applications should be submitted to the search firm prior to June 9, 2023.

Laurie C. Wilder, President
Porsha L. Williams, Vice President
Parker Executive Search
Five Concourse Parkway, Suite 2875; Atlanta, GA 30328
Phone: 770-804-1996 X 102 or X 109 ||

An equal-opportunity, affirmative-action institution committed to cultural diversity and compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.