Jim Conway, the associate vice president of alumni relations and development at Northwestern University, has been selected as UR’s first associate vice president for advancement services.

“We have recruited a true national leader in advancement,” Senior Vice President and Chief Advancement Officer Jim Thompson said. “He’s not only results-oriented, he also places a strong emphasis on building and supporting a first-rate team of advancement staff to work for and with him.”

The addition of Conway’s position is part of a broad reorganization of UR’s development staff. Conway, who will report to Thompson, will oversee human resources, professional development for advancement staff and finance functions for the advancement division.

The advancement division is charged with increasing the financial resources available to the university through development and fundraising. University Advancement Services provides a variety of functions that are fundamental to a good development operation, such as operations and information technology systems to keep track of gifts and ensure that donors are properly thanked.

“If those systems don’t run well, the university’s development officers won’t be able to do their best and donors will be disappointed in their relationship with the University,” Associate Vice President for Advancement Communications Robert Kraus said.

Continuing, he said, “The Advancement Division is being reconfigured and strengthened to significantly increase the gifts coming to the university. This is a key priority for the president. This is not a short-term process, by the way. It takes concerted, long-term work to reinforce relationships with prospective donors and to present to them the reasons why they should give to the university.”

The efforts with the advancement division are part of the strategic planning process Seligman has implemented since taking office last July. When compared to peer institutions, Seligman notes that UR’s advancement efforts are lagging and that as a result, UR’s endowment is below its potential.

Seligman has augmented the advancement staff by creating a senior leadership team led by Thompson, who was hired in June. Conway will join the team, which also includes Deputy Vice President for University Advancement Andrew Deubler and Senior Associate Vice President for Academic Development Robert Gibson who were both appointed by Seligman in August.

Deubler was previously Senior Associate Vice President and Chief Development Officer for the UR Medical Center where he oversaw the growth of the Medical Center development office from 23 full-time employees to more than 60 development professionals. Gibson came to UR from Washington University in St. Louis where he served as Senior Director of Development, Arts and Sciences. In that position, Gibson was responsible for the oversight of the Arts and Sciences component of the Washington University’s $1.5 billion campaign, according to an August memo from Seligman.

“I couldn’t be more pleased that Jim Conway will be joining us,” Thompson said.

Conway is looking forward to the challenge presented by Seligman.

“President Seligman, in my view, is a person with a vision and, at the same time, a person that knows how to get there,” Conway said. “I am excited to be joining him and Jim Thompson in this endeavor of making a great university even stronger. This is the very aim of development and its importance to the university.”

At Northwestern, Conway has been responsible for the financial, operational, and administrative management of the Office of Alumni Relations and Development and supervises a staff of 55. He has helped to transform Northwestern’s Advancement IT systems. In addition, he has introduced important new financial, budget and management practices. Bruml can be reached at abruml@campustimes.org

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