U of C picks interim development VP

Interim Vice President for Alumni Relations and Development Michele Schiele’s development goals for 2010 include $300 million in progressive fund-raising

By Stacey Kirkpatrick

Vice President for Medical Center Development at the U of C, Michele Schiele has been named Interim Vice President for Alumni Relations and Development. Schiele’s responsibilities include communication and engagement with alumni and philanthropists.

Since being chosen, Schiele has outlined a strategic initiative for the alumni relations. Over the past five months she has been meeting with other development officials to come up with areas of focus for development programs.

Her development goals for 2010 include $300 million in progressive fund-raising. These progressive donations are funds that are given partially up-front while the rest is donated progressively in the following years.

Schiele also aims to increase the alumni participation rate for College alumni from 31% to 40%.

Another goal is “increasing the trustee engagement in our development program,” she said.

“One responsibility is coordinating all communication to alumni and philanthropic audiences on behalf of the university,” Schiele said, and “notifying them of the University’s funding priorities.”

After “hearing from the University what is currently a priority” and “what’s working well and what’s not” in terms of funding, Schiele “works to address those challenges” by making them funding priorities. Thus her role in this interim position will fundamentally be one of a university liaison to donors and alumni.

Schiele also is responsible for “creating opportunities for our alumni and philanthropists to engage in life of the U of C.” As a University employee for over thirteen years Schiele believes her “relationships with University trustees, with faculty and many other units and divisions” makes her a well-qualified interim VP.

In particular, Schiele is already familiar with the mobilization of human assets “to achieve communication, fund-raising and engagement,” from her experience as Vice President and Associate Dean at Medical Center, a position which she will maintain concurrently along with her interim responsibilities.

To engage alumni in the U of C community, Schiele invites alumni to a range of activities going on campus throughout the year. Invitations attempt to engage alumni in things like the Harper Society lecture series, joining the alumni board of governors and becoming a member of the Alumni Board of Governors.

These events and invitations are entirely managed within the Alumni Relations and Development Office, which is primarily responsible for philanthropy programs and fundraising.

Schiele will also be reaching out to potential new donors throughout Chicago. She plans on inviting current alumni and donors as well as the Chicago civic community and local and global business leaders to The University

A new VP for Alumni Relations is expected to be elected in six months. According to Schiele, this will probably not be someone with the University system already, but someone who holds a similar position at another institution.