Lori A. Lewis, an advancement executive with nearly 20 years of experience in development and alumni affairs in higher education, will join Western Carolina University later this spring to lead its fundraising efforts.
Lewis, currently vice president for institutional advancement at McDaniel College in Westminster, Maryland, will assume the position of vice chancellor for development and alumni engagement at WCU effective June 6.
She fills a vacancy created by the departure of Jim Miller, former associate vice chancellor for development and alumni relations, who is now executive director of development for regional and major gifts programs in the Office of University Development at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Lewis is an accomplished and seasoned advancement professional with extensive experience leading fundraising campaigns at a variety of higher education institutions, from large universities to small liberal arts colleges, Chancellor David O. Belcher said in announcing her appointment.
“Lori Lewis possesses exactly the skill set, the experience and the vision the university needs to take our development efforts to the next level,” Belcher said. “Lori will build upon the solid foundation already in place as we gear up for our upcoming comprehensive fundraising campaign and as we endeavor to increase the number of endowed scholarships to provide financial assistance to deserving students.”
Lewis will function as the senior development and alumni engagement officer at WCU. She will report directly to the chancellor and be a member of the chancellor’s Executive Council.
Her primary responsibilities will be to design and implement strategies for development and alumni engagement initiatives at the university and college levels; build and lead the staffs and volunteers needed to support the university’s fundraising activities; and support the chancellor and other key internal and volunteer leaders in their work with top donors and donor prospects.
“I see my role as vice chancellor for development and alumni engagement as twofold: advise campus leadership on all aspects of development and alumni affairs and effectively promote internal and external support of the university’s mission as correlated with giving and engagement goals,” she said.
Lewis will oversee annual giving, major giving, planned giving, prospect research, donor relations, advancement services and alumni engagement. She also will work closely with the Catamount Club and others in the athletics offices on fundraising efforts in support of the intercollegiate athletics program.
Vice president at McDaniel College since 2012, Lewis has led the college’s philanthropy and engagement programs, including annual giving, major gifts, gift planning, advancement engagement, alumni relations and advancement services. Under her leadership, McDaniel annually exceeded all fundraising goals over the last three fiscal years, increasing the baseline of philanthropic support by 36 percent. During the same period, the college grew its number of alumni donors by 17 percent.
Prior to her work at McDaniel, Lewis was vice president for advancement of Marietta College in Ohio from 2005 until 2012, where she developed and oversaw a successful three-year, $50 million comprehensive campaign.
Lewis was assistant dean and director of development at Virginia Tech’s College of Engineering from 2004 until 2005 and was director of development there from 2002 until 2004. She worked at Ohio University in development roles from 1997 until 2002, first as assistant dean of development and alumni affairs in the College of Health and Human Services and then as assistant dean for development for that university’s Russ College of Engineering and Technology.
She holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in special education, both from Ohio University. Prior to her fundraising career, Lewis was a special education teacher, administrator and adjunct faculty member at Ohio University’s College of Education.
By Bill Studenc