Chief Advancement Officer

About Salve Regina University:

In the fall of 1947 Salve Regina College opened the doors of Ochre Court, a Gilded Age Newport mansion built in 1892, to its first class of 58 young women. The institution became coeducational in 1973 and achieved university status in 1991, at which time the school's charter was amended to change the name of the corporation to Salve Regina University. Since its founding, the campus has expanded to encompass seven contiguous 19th-century estates on Newport's famed Cliff Walk.

Today, Salve Regina University boasts a student body of 2,800 and 400 full time staff, and awards 766 degrees annually. Students enjoy a 13:1 student faculty ratio, and 99% receive some form of financial aid. There are 46 undergraduate majors, and 14 master's degree programs along with a nursing program, 12 combined bachelor's/master's programs, 3 doctoral programs, and Circle of Scholars, a lifelong learning program. Salve Regina is home to the Pell Center for International Relations and Public Policy, a multidisciplinary research center focused at the intersection of politics, policies and ideas.

As Salve approaches its 75th anniversary in 2022, the University takes pride in its rich heritage and promising future, both reflections of the mission and values of the Roman Catholic Sisters of Mercy. Under the dynamic leadership of new president Dr. Kelli Armstrong, the University is developing plans to further expand its geographic reach and bolster the programs that best represent its Mercy mission of compassion, service and justice.

Job Description:


Salve Regina University seeks a visionary and experienced Chief Advancement Officer (CAO) to spearhead integrated programs for strategic advancement services and development that will propel the University to new levels of philanthropic engagement. The new CAO will lead campaign planning for Salve's upcoming 75th anniversary while establishing a best-in-class infrastructure that ensures fundraising success and supports day-to-day advancement activities. This is an extraordinary opportunity to make a lasting impact on an institution, its alumni, and the region for generations to come.

Located on an expansive 80-acre campus overlooking the Atlantic Ocean in storied Newport, Rhode Island, Salve Regina is a Catholic university of distinction that champions a rigorous course of study, responsible citizenship and public service within the context of its Mercy heritage. The University's collaborative learning environment attracts and supports a broad community of students, faculty and staff, valuing and celebrating diversity in all its forms and fostering an inclusive culture.

As it approaches its 75th anniversary, Salve is launching an ambitious path toward future success. With the recent welcome of new leadership in Dr. Kelli Armstrong and the creation of a fresh strategic plan that will further enhance and promote the University's academic programming while also expanding its geographic reach, it is a remarkable time to join Salve. These noteworthy developments will present numerous opportunities to engage current supporters, as well as support the cultivation of new bases of support nationally.

Reporting directly to President, the CAO will work diligently and thoughtfully to position the University for its next seventy-five years of success. The CAO will take a holistic approach in examining the University's past and current fundraising structure and accomplishments to design a succeeding fundraising strategy reflective of the University's philanthropic capacity and provide the leadership to empower the staff in achieving this goal.

Operationally, the CAO will assess and upgrade the infrastructure in place, collaboratively leading strategic systems planning and implementation efforts, including a database conversion, as the University identifies technologies and tools to support transparent, accountable fundraising operations. The CAO will also staff the President as a principal fundraising resource, and draw upon URA colleagues and faculty members, as well as the Chancellor, Vice President of University Relations, and Board of Trustees, to raise funds from individuals, corporations, foundations, and the public sector.

Salve's University Relations Advancement (URA) office has been built on the unwavering devotion and talents of its staff and leadership. Harnessing the power on which Salve's early success has been established, the new CAO will identify opportunities to streamline processes and procedures, clarify roles and responsibilities, and inspire the team to grow with the University as it stretches to reach new heights. The University Relations team consists of 15+ professionals across major giving, annual fund, digital fundraising, alumni/parent engagement, planned/estate giving, prospect research, stewardship, and events. The CAO will lead by example, championing a culture of teamwork, collaboration, and transparency across the institution.

The CAO will work in close partnership with the Chancellor and the Vice President of University Relations who have both forged deep connections with the local/regional community, government officials, civic leaders, and Board of Trustees, in addition to multiple corporations and foundations. Both the Chancellor and the Vice President of University Relations have significantly contributed to the success of the advancement operation through their work at principal and major giving levels and will share their rich history and strategies with the new CAO in order to expand Salve's accomplishments.

The ideal candidate is expected to bring expertise in advancement operations and a demonstrated ability to plan and successfully execute strategies for six- and seven-figure gifts. A broader understanding of campaign development, planned gifts, foundations, corporations, and special events is necessary. Strong managerial and motivational skills are required to outline clear philanthropic goals and galvanize the organization's staff, faculty, volunteers, and its most influential supporters. This person will uphold a collaborative culture that promotes open communication among team members, and bring a detail-oriented, results-driven work style that encourages follow through and moves management on all strategies and will bring deep appreciation for Salve's culture and the ability to create advancement strategies that reflect the broader Mercy mission and worldview.


  • Work with the President, members of the leadership team, and Board of Trustees to create and implement a comprehensive strategic plan for development that significantly increases philanthropic potential for Salve; initiate an anniversary campaign planning strategy.
  • Oversee the continued development of a best-practice advancement infrastructure, including appropriate programs, policies, and procedures to ensure effectiveness and accountability across the system.
  • Leverage the collective mindshare and experiences of directors across prospect research, advancement services, annual fund, and alumni/parent relations to assess prospect portfolios and develop appropriate goals and metrics; track and manage productivity of events, fundraising initiatives, and individual performance; and continue to build measures to ensure data integrity.
  • Partner closely with and support the continued success of the Chancellor and Vice President of University Relations in their external roles as fundraisers and champions for Salve.
  • Carry a small personal portfolio and build the capacity of the President and Board of Trustees in their roles engaging support for Salve.
  • Oversee the planning and execution of cultivation, fundraising, and stewardship events including Salve's signature Governor's Ball and evaluate new possibilities related to the upcoming 75th Anniversary.
  • In partnership with the AVP of Communications, explore opportunities to enhance donor communications; internally, leverage various communication vehicles to highlight the contributions of URA to the University.
  • Collaborate with the Chief Financial Officer and respective departments within the Business Office to best integrate systems between development and finance as a new database/CRM is established.
  • Plan and evaluate financial needs and fundraising plans for the institution's future; develop and produce regular analytic reports that synthesize the financial progress and trends of fundraising activities.
  • Provide a high level of customer service, cross-organizational cooperation, and reliance on clear standards of professional and ethical conduct.
  • Serve as a manager, mentor, and leader for the overall development program and staff, and as an external ambassador and spokesperson on behalf of the University.

  • A minimum of ten years' experience, including supervisory responsibilities, in the higher education advancement arena with exposure to the functions inherent in advancement services and/or development; experience managing a capital campaign is necessary.
  • Demonstrated effectiveness as a leader and strategic thinker who thrives when working as a member of a dynamic leadership team.
  • The professional credibility and maturity required to effectively engage and build trusted relationships with members of the senior leadership team and colleagues across the University.
  • Ability to troubleshoot and make sound decisions in response to rapidly changing often nuanced situations.
  • Skilled as an outstanding coach, mentor, and motivator of professionals with a dedication to hiring, retaining, and developing outstanding talent.
  • Demonstrable knowledge of relational database programs and online constituent management systems with the ability to lead a staff towards the best technical solutions is ideal.
  • An appreciation for the Mercy mission and the value of a Mercy education in contributing to the greater good and making a real difference in the world; personally exemplify the qualities of kindness, compassion, and empathy when carrying out the work at hand.
  • The ability and willingness to travel when required.
  • A Bachelor's degree or equivalent work experience is required.

Additional Information:

Salve Regina University offers generous benefits to eligible employees including:

  • health and dental coverage
  • life insurance
  • long-term disability
  • 403B plan
  • tuition benefits and more

Salve Regina University strives to provide equal opportunity in employment and education to all employees, students and applicants. No employee, student or applicant shall be discriminated against or harassed on the basis of race, color, national and ethnic origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, religion, disability, age, marital or parental status, military or veteran status, genetic information or any other basis protected by applicable federal or state law, in the administration of Salve Regina's employment policies, education policies, admission policies, scholarship and loan programs, athletic and other University administered programs. In accordance with Title IX, it does not discriminate on the basis of sex in any of its educational programs or activities. Salve Regina is also committed to making its programs and campus accessible to its visitors and compliant with all applicable non-discrimination laws.

Application Instructions:

Pearl Street Collective, an executive search firm committed to advancing the common good, is leading this search. Please submit your resume and cover letter to .

Pre-employment background checks and reference checks are required of successful candidates. Salve Regina University participates in E-verify.

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