University Relations Welcomes New Vice President
By Amy Gu
On February 18, University Relations welcomed philanthropic professional Paul Secord to strengthen Southwestern’s already thriving network of alumni and parent donations. After a national search for prospective individuals to fill this position, Secord was selected as the Vice President of University Relations (VPUR). As of June 1, Secord will collaborate with President Edward Burger and the University’s Trustees to glean financial resources from philanthropic supporters.
As VPUR, Secord will direct the Office of University Relationship to bolster university ties with alumni and parent relations to secure a reliable donation fund. Southwestern’s annual fund, which fuels campus events and programs, relies heavily on the network that Secord will work with.
“As somebody on the outside of the University family looking in, it was easy for me to see the exciting programs that are already in place and the high potential for new and transformational programs and projects in the near future, and so for somebody in my position, [the position of VPUR] is a dream opportunity,” said Secord.
In August 2014, President Burger and the board of trustees appointed individuals to form a committee that would aid in process of selecting a VPUR. Assisted by fiscal consultants and the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges (AGB), the committee publicized the open position of VPUR.
“The committee was well aware of the wonderful campus community at Southwestern and our goal was to identify the candidate that would further enhance the family and culture,” said Daryl Allen and Suzanne Blake, chair and vice chair of the committee. “Through [SU members’] valuable representation on the search committee, the entire committee concurred that including the community in the process and obtaining their input was critical to the process.”
After reviewing the prospective candidate pool, the committee invited five VPUR candidates to Georgetown and Southwestern to participate in a series of open forums. During this process, other candidates and all of the Southwestern community were invited to observe candidate interviews. According to Secord, this process allowed for a brief display of candidates’ qualifications, which is both valuable and for candidates and reviewers.
“Throughout the interview process, [Secord] was characterized as a dynamic philanthropic professional with the strategic thinking, creativity, and fund raising skills that can make a significant, positive impact on Southwestern’s future,” said President Burger. “I found his experience and success in higher education advancement to be a clear indication of the leadership and energy he will bring to building and maintaining the productive internal and external relationships that are vital to our on-going success.”
Secord’s professional experience and enthusiasm derives from his lifelong passion for philanthropy and 17 years of professional fundraising experience. Secord joins Southwestern after leading successful campaigns at Drake University, the Lahey Clinic in Massachusetts, Babson College, and has earned recognition in the Des Moines Business Record.
“I knew that I wanted to be a fundraiser when I was still in elementary school,” said Secord. “I am proud of the way the donors with whom I have worked have forever changed the institutions where they made their philanthropic investments. My family and I are extremely excited to be joining the Southwestern family and all of us look forward to getting to know as many members of the community as possible.”
With Secord’s summer arrival in Georgetown, SU will welcome yet another campus member devoted Southwestern’s reputation of changing lives.