Hamilton College in Clinton, New York, seeks a creative and inspirational leader for the position of Vice President for Advancement (VPA). The VPA reports to the President and works closely with the Board of Trustees and senior management team to identify priorities and run comprehensive advancement programs to support the educational experience for students. The ideal candidate must be a strategic thinker and a creative and nimble leader around new initiatives. The VPA will be a persuasive speaker, and understand and communicate well the mission, strengths and quality of Hamilton College, including its vision for liberal arts education. Finally, to be successful, the VPA must appreciate environmental forces affecting higher education generally and Hamilton specifically, as well as important characteristics of the College’s primary constituents, including their attitudes, interests and needs, and level of knowledge about the institution.
Hamilton College is a private, liberal arts college located in the village of Clinton, New York, in the beautiful Mohawk Valley in the foothills of the Adirondack Mountains. Hamilton’s 1,350-acre campus is situated on a hilltop overlooking the picturesque village of Clinton. The college is home to 1850 students offering the Bachelor of Arts degree in any of over 50 areas of concentration. The college’s namesake is Alexander Hamilton, U.S. statesman, first secretary of the U.S. Treasury, and member of the first Board of Trustees of the Hamilton-Oneida Academy.
Originally founded in 1793 as the Hamilton-Oneida Academy, an all boys’ school, Hamilton College received its charter from the regents of the State University of New York in 1812. In the late 19th and early 20th century, the college built out a classic, restrained, and beautiful campus, which endures to this day. The college has been coeducational since 1978, when it merged with its sister school Kirkland College.
Over the last 50 years, Hamilton’s strategic choices have propelled it into the first rank of liberal arts colleges, forging a distinctive and vital identity from its long history. The college takes seriously its motto “Know Thyself.” It offers students what few places do: the promise of discovery and the rare opportunity to become the architects of their own intellectual development in an open curriculum. Hamilton asks students to ally their passion to their curiosity and to make learning a lifelong pursuit. It appeals to a diverse, strong, intellectually motivated, and increasingly self-directed student body. It attracts a faculty of vibrantly engaged scholars who are enthusiastically committed to teaching. And Hamilton has built a remarkable array of facilities and programs that sustain one of the broadest ranges of intellectual and artistic inquiry available on a small liberal arts college campus.
The college is distinguished by an outstanding faculty and exceptionally able administrators dedicated to student learning, scholarship, interdisciplinary learning, and innovative academic programs. Students and alumni speak with deep and genuine affection for Hamilton, particularly about the close, meaningful relationships and collaborations they have with academic advisors and faculty members. Hamilton has the equivalent of 190 full-time faculty members, of whom 120 are tenured, giving it a student-to-faculty ratio of 9:1.
There are more than 200 organizations and clubs for students focused on community service, culture, music, athletics, politics, religion, and social activities. Most students at the college tend to become involved in multiple activities outside their classes. Academic departments and student organizations sponsor speakers and programs on a regular basis. In 2011, the college established the Days-Massolo Center, a vibrant, multicultural center to further support student engagement and success around issues of difference.
The demographic composition of Hamilton’s student body continued to change when the college went need-blind in 2010. Today, approximately half of the student body receives need-based financial aid and the average award is approximately $41,300. In addition to socioeconomic diversity, every other demographic has changed as well. Women now comprise slightly more than 50 percent of the College’s students. More than one quarter of the student body consists of U.S. students of color or international citizens, and Hamilton enrolls students from 45 states and 47 countries. Approximately 15 percent of each entering class are first generation college students.
As a member of NESCAC, the College encourages participation in athletics, and roughly one-third of its students are varsity scholar-athletes, excelling both in the classroom and on the field.
Leadership at Hamilton College
President David Wippman began his tenure as Hamilton’s 20th president on July 1, 2016. A recognized authority in international law, he has taught public international law, international criminal law, international human rights and ethnic conflict. He received his bachelor’s degree, summa cum laude, from Princeton University in 1976, his master’s degree through a fellowship in the Graduate Program in English Literature at Yale University in 1978 and his law degree from Yale Law School in 1982. While at Yale, Wippman was the editor-in-chief of the Yale Law Journal. He clerked for The Honorable Wilfred Feinberg, chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.
Wippman became dean of the University of Minnesota Law School on July 1, 2008. Previously, he was a professor and associate dean at Cornell Law School and served as vice provost for international relations at Cornell University. He took a year away from Cornell to serve as a director in the National Security Council’s Office of Multilateral and Humanitarian Affairs, where he worked on war crimes issues, the International Criminal Court, economic sanctions and U.N. political issues.
Before joining Cornell, Wippman practiced law for nine years in Washington, D.C., with a focus on international arbitration, political consulting on public and private international law issues, and representation of developing countries in litigation. He has been a visiting scholar at the University of Ulster, Northern Ireland. Wippman has co-authored two recently released books in international law: International Law: Norms, Actors, Process: A Problem-Oriented Approach and Can Might Make Rights?: Building the Rule of Law After Military Interventions.
The Position – Vice President for Advancement
Reporting directly to President David Wippman, the Vice President for Advancement will be responsible for providing strategic oversight for our comprehensive, college-wide advancement programs that directly support the educational experience for our students. Working with a professional staff of approximately 45, the VPA is responsible for developing and implementing strategies to increase fundraising results and constituent engagement. Divisions managed by the VPA include: all aspects of development, communications, career services, stewardship, and alumni and parent relations.
Key Primary Responsibilities and Opportunities for Vice President for Advancement will include:
- Promote a culture of philanthropy among Hamilton’s alumni, parents and friends by establishing and managing an innovative series of programs that focus on strengthening donor relationships and advancing the College’s mission.
- Advise the President and Board of Trustees about fundraising-related goals and provide detailed donor assessments and cultivation strategies that build on existing donor relationships with faculty members, trustees and members of the senior management team.
- Elevate the advancement operation so that results are competitive with peer institutions; make Hamilton a leader among peers for best-in-class programs for young alumni, career services, parent relations, volunteer engagement, planned giving and development communications.
- Identify and execute strategies that would increase the number of graduates who completed their Hamilton education in the years 1965 to 1995, to see Hamilton as a “cause” worthy of their support; and to expand their relationships with the College to cultivate future generations of leaders.
- Work closely with the Vice President for Administration and Finance and other senior staff to develop and market Annual Giving programs and other fundraising initiatives in ways that help donors see the specific impact of their gifts.
- Develop strong, working relationships with members of the College’s Committee on Development and function as a catalyst with this committee to achieve mutually established goals.
- Develop initiatives that raise participation and increase dollars for both annual giving and comprehensive campaigns; focus on building a pipeline of donors, from senior gifts to planned gifts; engage members of the faculty, coaches and other employees in the donor-cultivation process, especially when initiatives pertaining to their areas are funding priorities.
- Collaborate closely with Academic Affairs to build a compelling case for support from foundation, corporation and government sources.
- Allocate the departmental budget across divisions to maximize communications, constituent engagement and development outcomes.
- Regularly evaluate the division’s structure to be certain that staff deployment meets current needs and promotes program success. Make changes as necessary to create and maintain a top-tier program and create efficiencies that strengthen performance.
- Utilize available resources to understand better how Hamilton alumni engage and think about the College and tailor development initiatives to work in partnership with the culture.
- Maintain familiarity with technological advances to advance divisional objectives; develop a predictive analytics program to understand and tailor donor interests with institutional communications, volunteer engagement and development priorities.
- Cultivate a corps of trustee-level volunteers to work with leadership donors to increase their level of philanthropy.
- Build a comprehensive donor-relations program that focuses on a donor-centric model of fundraising.
- Manage an organizational structure in which the various divisions collaborate regularly to more fully expand the breadth of the constituent experience.
- Devise and implement a communication program for all constituencies that informs as well as engages alumni, parents and the campus community around news and institutional priorities. Continually evaluate and utilize new communication platforms.
The Vice President for Advancement will have the following experiences, capabilities, and attributes:
- A proven record of visionary leadership with a minimum of 10 years in advancement or equivalent required;
- Significant experience in the oversight of successful advancement in higher education;
- Ability to be an effective communicator, in both written and oral communications;
- Proven experience as a skilled leader and manager, with demonstrated capacity to assess and develop the talents and expertise of staff; recruit and retain highly qualified professionals; and build a positive, service-oriented organizational culture with teams committed to collaboration and high-quality results;
- Ability to prioritize projects, make decisions and move work forward effectively in areas of highest need;
- Capacity to work collaboratively with senior staff colleagues and multiple constituencies in an intimate and committed community, forming relationships of trust and confidence;
- Adept at problem solving and creating solutions;
- Demonstrate a strong commitment to diversity and inclusion; and
- Bachelor’s degree is required.
Applicants should submit a resume and letter discussing their interest in the position as well as their accomplishments in relationship to the listed responsibilities and qualifications. Background checks will be performed on all final candidates. Applications and nominations should be sent to:
Mo Lashendock,Vice President
Neumann Executive Search Partners
Hamilton College is an Affirmative Action, Equal Opportunity employer and encourages diversity in all areas of the campus community