Rockford University is a co-educational four-year private institution located in Rockford, Illinois.

Vice President for Advancement

Rockford University ( is accepting nominations and applications for the position of Vice President for Advancement.  Reporting to the President, the new Vice President for Advancement serves as Rockford University’s chief philanthropy officer and strategist for the Advancement Division and as chief philanthropic advisor to the President, the Trustees, and other University officials on all matters involving current or potential philanthropic support. The Vice President for Advancement will oversee all Advancement areas, including Alumni Engagement, Planned Giving, Major Gifts, Corporate and Foundation Gifts, Data and Gift Management, Prospect and Grant Research, Public Relations & Strategic Communications, and University Events and Scheduling.


  • Hire, train, supervise, and evaluate staff within the Office of Advancement, including at present, Director of Alumni Engagement and Philanthropic Strategies, Engagement Officer, Donor Relations Coordinator, Philanthropy and Alumni Engagement Specialist, Philanthropy & Alumni Engagement Systems Coordinator (Vacant), Director of University Events and Scheduling, Director of Marketing and Communications, Marketing and Communications Manager, and the Marketing and Communications Specialist.
  • Provide leadership and support to all professional, administrative, and student staff assigned to advancement.
  • Work with direct reports and their respective teams on strategic planning efforts to meet increasing annual goals and drive long-term results.
  • As a key member of the President’s executive council, the vice president participates in strategic planning and works collaboratively with leadership across the institution to support key academic and university priorities, initiatives, and opportunities.
  • Manage the overall image, brand, and public relations functions of the university.
  • Foster a culture of philanthropy at Rockford that fully engages the university’s various constituencies at an increasingly deep and meaningful level, including creating and leadership of programs that promote participation.
  • Provide vision and active leadership to the philanthropy team to secure annual, major, planned, and transformative gifts. Develop plans and resources to strengthen the university’s fundraising base and strategies to improve individual giving, particularly among alumni and friends.
  • Lead a robust effort to identify and build a pipeline of new donors, including those beyond the existing alumni pool.
  • Continually assess the Advancement structure and performance as well as individual and collective staff capabilities with the goal of increasing effectiveness and efficiency.
  • Lead teams to cultivate an alumni base and engage them in institutional initiatives which will maintain and build dynamic portfolios of high net worth individuals and secure major, capital, and planned gifts, as well as advanced annual gifts and endowment support.
  • In consultation with the President, build, develop, and manage a small individual portfolio of prospects/donors focusing on major and principal gifts.
  • Partner with the President in all phases of campaign leadership and advancement activities, including individual prospect and donor development efforts.
  • Ensure that all units comprising University Advancement are seen as collaborative and proactive partners able to address both opportunities and concerns professionally.
  • Ensure adoption and effective use of strategic tools and resources such as contact reports, prospect management, research, and the CRM database (currently Raiser’s Edge NXT).
  • Bring a professional and seasoned approach to the overall advancement and communications efforts.
  • Serve as the administrative liaison to the Engage Committee of the Board of Trustees.
  • Serve on university task forces and committees.
  • The duties listed in this job description are intended only as illustrations of the various types of work that may be performed. The omission of specific statements of duties does not exclude them from the position if the work is similar, related, or a logical assignment to the position.


In addition to direct reporting, the Vice President for Advancement will indirectly supervise all employees within the Advancement team and student workers employed within the division.  Current direct reports include, Director of Alumni Engagement and Philanthropic Strategies, Director of Marketing and Communications, Engagement Officer, and Director of University Events and Scheduling.

QUALIFICATIONS include the following:

  • A deep appreciation for the mission and aspirations of Rockford University, the ability to successfully articulate that mission and generate excitement about the university among a diverse group of stakeholders, and the desire to play a meaningful role in the life of Rockford University and its extended community.
  • Bachelor’s Degree and ten (10) years of related fundraising experience. Graduate degree preferred.
  • Five years of management experience within a professional fundraising organization.
  • A record of successful fundraising in higher education or a large non-profit organization at the major and principal gift levels.
  • Capital or comprehensive campaign experience.
  • Ability to be a strategic partner to campus leadership who can design and execute initiatives and campaigns to increase fundraising at Rockford University.
  • An understanding of and a commitment to the importance of creating an advancement organization that is actively inclusive of individuals from all backgrounds with diverse perspectives and a history of successfully championing diversity.
  • Honesty, integrity, enthusiasm, and perspective; a solid work ethic, supported by commitment and follow-through.
  • Knowledge of the utilization of sophisticated integrated information systems in support of alumni and development activities.
  • Budget-minded with a solid operational background and track record of success in a resource-constrained environment.
  • The ability to take a creative approach to problem-solving and the ability to take advantage of emerging opportunities.
  • Be transparent, collaborative, and team-oriented; bridge builder and the ability to understand the role of advancement within the broader context of the institution.
  • The ability and willingness to travel frequently.

Rockford University is a co-educational four-year private institution located in Rockford, Illinois. Chartered in 1847 as Rockford Female Seminary, the institution became Rockford College in 1892 and became fully co-educational in 1958. On July 1, 2013 the college transitioned to Rockford University. Rockford University is home to one of only 11 Phi Beta Kappa (PBK) chapters in Illinois, the most prestigious honor society in the United States. Named by The Princeton Review as a Best Midwestern College and one of only 81 colleges in the nation as a “College with a Conscience,” the University currently serves approximately 1,300 full-and part-time students. Best known of the university’s graduates is Jane Addams (1881), founder of Chicago’s Hull-House and recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize (1931). The University educates men and women to lead responsible lives by means of a curriculum grounded in liberal arts learning and complemented and extended by professional and practical experience. Through the total academic and co-curricular experience, Rockford University strives to prepare students for fulfilling lives, careers, and participation in a modern and changing global society.  The University has approximately 80 majors, minors and concentrations, including the adult accelerated degree completion program for a B.S. in Management Studies. At the graduate level, degrees are extended to include the Master of Business Administration (MBA), Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT), and Master of Education (MEd).

Rockford University is being assisted by the partners of Hyatt – Fennell.  Nominations and application materials should be submitted via email to Applications include a letter of interest, a current résumé/cv, and contact information for five professional references and should be submitted in separate documents. Applications will be reviewed as they are received.  All applications and nominations will be considered highly confidential.

Rockford University is an AA/EOE employer

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