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The advancement president in higher education

Richard Grenville Eldredge, Johnson & Wales University


An investigation of the role of many college presidents which has changed dramatically over the past twenty years, largely due to influences outside of academics. In July of 1998 The National Commission on the costs of Higher Education reported that tuition at private four-year colleges and universities increased by 99 percent between 1987 and 1996. At public four-year institutions tuition increased by 137 percent for the same period. Individual states have reduced allocations to public institutions, federal programs for student grants have been curtailed, deferred maintenance projects have come due, overall personnel costs have escalated, technology infrastructure investments have skyrocketed, and today more students, with less financial resources, are pursuing a higher education. An increasing need for new funding sources, other than state revenues, local taxation, student fees and tuitions has resulted in colleges recognizing the efficacy of philanthropy (fundraising) as an alternative/necessary funding source. Giving USA, 1996, AAFRC Trust for Philanthropy, Inc. reports that annual philanthropic giving in the United States has risen from $28.6 billion in 1975 to $143.9 billion in 1995. Higher education's share in 1995 was $17.9 billion. As the importance and influence of private support in the life of higher education have expanded, so too have the structures which raise and manage these dollars. This dissertation examines the relationship between the campus chief executive officer and the institution's fundraising foundation. The researcher will investigate the individual leadership styles and personal management strengths of ten college/university presidents and/or senior campus chief executive officers and their involvement with this institution's fundraising foundation. The study examines the complexities of the role of the chief executive officer, vis a vis transformational leadership theory, to determine the degree of control, influence, involvement in the decision making process and/or autonomy each exercises in implementing the foundation's fundraising initiatives. Each chief executive officer was purposely selected to be interviewed as a result of their high profile in advancement activities related to their particular institution. As an adjunct, a questionnaire was developed to articulate each foundation's development and history, and the role played by the chief executive officer. This questionnaire and another one developed by CASE was given to the executive directors of those institutions which have foundations. Institutions, while mostly from New England, represent the following higher education sectors: public community college, private business college, private high tech graduate school, private veterinary school of medicine, public university school of medicine, private religious-affiliated college, private university, private college. The principle findings, simply stated, to emerge from this investigation are: (1) Institutional foundations as independent agencies are not for everyone. There are benefits to be sure; however, there are detractions as well, and it would seem that the public sector institutions stand to benefit most. (2) Transformation leadership characteristics are particularly effective in advancement president roles and responsibilities; however, the degree of effectiveness is contextually driven. (3) The literature of advancement president concepts and fundraising initiatives is curiously silent on two significant issues: the role of spouse and the president's residence.

Subject Area

Educational administration|Education finance|Higher education

Recommended Citation

Eldredge, Richard Grenville, "The advancement president in higher education" (1999). Dissertation & Theses Collection. AAI9941904.