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New VP For Alumni Affairs Announced

In yet another clear sign that Cornell University's strategic goals over the coming years are going to be life sciences, life sciences, and yet more life sciences, the University announced today that it is hiring Charles D. Phlegar as its new Vice-President for Alumni Affairs and Development. Phlegar is currently the Interim Vice-President of Alumni Affairs and Development at The Johns Hopkins University, an institution certainly not unknown for its medical and life sciences research.

Some might say that Phlegar's hiring brings the Lehman saga to a close: The resignation of the former Vice-President for Alumni Affairs and Development, the much respected Igne Riechenbach, was one of the first signs that all was not well in Day Hall last spring. Richenbach since accepted the top development position at Yale.

Anyways, the Cornell News Service isn't running the story of Phlegar's appointment yet, but the following was sent out across Cornell's Mid-Atlantic office alumni list serve today:

We are delighted Charlie Phlegar will be coming to Cornell," said Cornell President-elect Dr. David Skorton. "His savvy and broad experience will be a great benefit for the university at this important time. His ongoing successes and leadership in development coordination and campaign fund-raising, along with his notable record of fostering collaboration between academic and alumni development units gives him a strong base for success here at Cornell, as the university looks forward to a new capital campaign...

Phlegar, a native of Virginia, will come to Cornell after serving as Johns Hopkins University's interim vice president for development and alumni relations since early 2006. In 2005, Phlegar was promoted from associate vice president overseeing all non-medicine fundraising and medicine central operations to senior associate vice president for development and alumni relations, in recognition of his strong contributions to the leadership of the division and to the new capital campaign. That $2 billion campaign, which began in July 2000, has now yielded $2.2 billion.
While I know that Skorton, Phlegar, and the trustees are going to be understandably concerned about securing the big money donations to build up the life sciences initiative, I hope that Phlegar doesn't forget about the role of the less than wealthy donors.

For one, he should take immediate steps to allow the indepedentally operated Cornell Alumni Magazine be sent for free to all Cornell alums that want a subscription.

Such a small (and relatively cheap) gesture could reap enormous dividends for the University: Not only would it create a happier, more content alumni base that would be more connected with their alma mater, but if 100,000 extra living alums all donated an average of $10,000 to the University over their lifetime as a result of such an initiative, that would add an extra billion dollars to the University's coffers -- something that the University will need if it wants to do more than just focus on the life sciences.

Matthew Nagowski | Posted on May 23, 2006 (#)

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