Ithaca College has begun the interview process for the next Vice President for Institutional Advancement, who will take current vice president, Shelley Semmler’s, position after she retires in February.
The search has now been reduced to three final candidates, but their identities will only be revealed as the interview process progresses.
Nancy Harvin, vice president for advancement at the Culinary Institute of America, is the first candidate. She graduated from Smith College and later landed a job as its regional campaign director. She moved on to work at Northfield Mount Hermon School before assuming her position at the Culinary Institute of America.
Harvin visited the college yesterday for an open interview held in the Clark Lounge. More than 20 members of the faculty and staff attended the interview.
Harvin said the most challenging issue faced by many institutions today is the financial crisis affecting gift donors to the institutions. As vice president at the Culinary Institute, Harvin said she almost doubled the donations revenue during the recession.
“My ability to produce revenue is one of the more attractive options to institutions considering hiring me,” she said. “Not only the revenue that I can produce personally, but also how I can organize and energize the group.”
Harvin said her decision to apply for the vice president position at the college was rooted in the IC 20/20 vision plan and the college’s strong Institutional Advancement division.
“It’s not broken,” she said. “The advancement function is working beautifully. I believe in Tom Rochon; I have found the right president.”
The vice president’s job is to acquire funds to enhance the college’s infrastructure, to provide resources for academic programs and to fund student financial assistance and scholarships.
Carl Sgrecci, chair of the search committee and vice president of finance and administration, said the other two candidates will be visiting the college in the next few weeks. The main issue the new vice president will face is to initiate funding for IC 20/20 initiatives, he said.
Sgrecci said last spring a search committee was created to find three candidates for the position.
“Our goal, as the search committee, was to complete the search process as close as possible to Thanksgiving so that the president could be in a position to make a selection of a final person shortly thereafter,” he said. “This is a position that reports to the president, so this is a presidential hire.”
Shannon Ahn, an individual giving associate in the Individual and Planned Giving department overseen by Institutional Advancement, said what struck her about Harvin was that she seemed very focused, experienced and knowledgeable in fundraising campaigns.
“She would come in with an open mind but be able to focus on what needs to be done,” she said. “When you get a new leader, you get a fresh perspective. It is always exciting to have potential improvements that we can’t think of because we are already in the division.”
Sgrecci said the prefect candidate needs extensive experience in an institutional development position.
“We will definitely want to have a person who is a seasoned fundraiser with substantial experience in higher education who can be a team player and work closely with the college’s president and trustees to further the fundraising efforts of the college,” he said.