Vice President for University Advancement (VPUA)

Pennsylvania, United States
Salary Not specified
Feb 17, 2021
Employment Level
Employment Type
Full Time

Vice President for University Advancement (VPUA)

Gwynedd Mercy University (Gwynedd Valley, PA),

ABOUT THE ORGANIZATION                                                                                                      

Gwynedd Mercy University is a private, Catholic institution with a strong foundation in the liberal arts, founded by the Sisters of Mercy in 1948. More than 2400 students currently are served by three schools: Arts and Sciences; Business and Education; and The Frances M. Maguire School of Nursing and Health Professions. Collectively, the University offers more than 40 associate, bachelor, master and doctorate degree programs on a full and part-time basis. The University’s academic distinction lies in the intersection of excellent programs in health care, education, and business administration, which prepares students to become leaders in the region's powerful and growing life-sciences industry. The University is in the top 6% nationally for 10 year earnings according to the Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce and 93% of graduates were employed or in graduate school within 6 months of graduation (based on survey respondents).

Gwynedd Mercy University’s enrollment size and prime location within minutes of Philadelphia means that it is large enough to offer a vibrant campus life but small enough that professors can develop mentoring relationships with students. The University educates students in the Mercy tradition of service to society, preparing graduates who not only find jobs but also create lives and careers with deep meaning.

Gwynedd Mercy University students enjoy a vibrant, collegiate campus life highlighted by 19 NCAA Division III men's and women's sports teams and opportunities to pursue interests through 24 clubs and activities. The University has four residence halls with a variety of living options, a gym, and access to indoor track and outside basketball, softball/baseball, and tennis courts. There are four eateries on campus where students can grab a coffee on the run, get pizza and sandwiches or sit down to all-you-can eat meals.

The University recently doubled the size of its campus by acquiring an adjacent 154-acre parcel currently named the East Campus. The University now occupies 314 beautiful acres in suburban Philadelphia, close to a variety of shops and eateries and just a short ride away to the city excitement of Philadelphia, along with two satellite locations in Bensalem and Center City.


Gwynedd Mercy University seeks an experienced and creative fundraising professional to join the leadership team of President Deanne H. D'Emilio as the next Vice President for University Advancement (VPUA). Reporting directly to the President, the VPUA is the chief advancement officer for the University and is a member of the President's Executive Council, comprised of the VPUA along with the Provost and VP for Academic Affairs, VP for Finance and Administration, VP for Student Services and Dean of Students, VP for Marketing and Enrollment Management, and VP for Mission Integration. The VPUA also serves as the liaison to the University Advancement and Alumni Engagement Committee of the Board.

As the chief fundraising professional, the VPUA currently has oversight of Alumni Relations, Annual Fund, Donor Stewardship, Advancement Operations, Development, and Foundation and Government Relations. This includes managing a department of 8 individuals, including 6 direct reports (the Director of Development, which is currently vacant, Director of Alumni Relations, Director of Annual Fund, Director of Corporate, Foundation and Government Relations, Director of Advancement Operations, and Advancement Manager), as well as the Assistant Director of Donor Events & Stewardship (currently vacant) and the Gift and Prospect Coordinator.

As the University recently completed a bridge campaign after the last comprehensive campaign, this is an exciting opportunity to help guide and implement the University’s strategic vision and launch the next comprehensive campaign to build upon the University's rich history of excellence. The VPUA will have the opportunity to work with the President and Board of Trustees in developing the recently purchased East Campus as part of a Facilities Master Planning process and the next comprehensive campaign.


  • Master’s degree from an accredited institution
  • At least 10 years of advancement/fundraising experience, including 5 years in a senior leadership position
  • Knowledge of the Philadelphia area and philanthropic community (preferred)
  • An understanding of the philosophy and responsibilities of an independent institution of higher education in the Catholic/Mercy tradition
  • Experience working with university personnel in a system of shared governance and mutual respect
  • An entrepreneurial and visionary mindset; confident in bringing fresh ideas based on knowledge of trends and innovations in higher education fundraising
  • Strong executive functionality; able to move from planning to implementation with urgency, efficiency, and diplomacy
  • Able to lead, mentor, and motivate others to engage with creativity and continued focus on better practices
  • Experience in the activities and oversight of alumni relations, annual funds, as well as major and planned giving
  • Demonstrated success in planning and executing capital campaigns
  • Experience with cultivating and closing major gifts of at least $10,000 and capital campaign gifts of at least $25,000
  • Able to work with finance and accounting personnel to ensure proper accounting of donor funds
  • Excellent analytical and problem solving skills, including the ability to identify, consult on, and resolve issues that impact institutional needs and priorities
  • Open and transparent communicator, able to build and navigate relationships with internal and external stakeholders of diverse perspectives and personalities with sensitivity, passion, and authenticity, including board and committee members, prospective donors, donors, supporters, alumni, as well as state elected officials and lobbyists
  • Experience working with board members to identify and plan for development opportunities, set and support personal and team goals, track progress, and report outcomes, with clarity, persistence, and diplomacy
  • Affable, with a good sense of humor

Work Environment

  • This is a remote position at this time, although work on campus is optional for limited hours each week; anticipated return to regular campus work environment by Fall 2021
  • Travel required up to 25%, but may increase depending upon the needs of the role
  • Flexible work hours required


Gwynedd Mercy University is committed to maintaining a positive learning, working, and living environment that is free from unlawful discrimination and harassment. Gwynedd Mercy University does not discriminate against any applicant for admission to or employment at the University because of race, religion, age, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, color, marital status, veteran status, genetic characteristics, or any other characteristic protected by federal, state or local law (“Protected Classes”). This includes, but is not limited to, admissions, financial aid, educational services, and student programs and activities, as well as to all terms and conditions of employment including, but not limited to, recruitment, selection, hiring, placement, transfer, promotion, training, compensation, benefits, discipline, and termination. The University will not tolerate unlawful acts of discrimination or harassment based upon Protected Classes, or related retaliation against or by any employee or student. 


Dunleavy & Associates has been retained by the University as their partner for this search. All interested candidates should submit a resume and cover letter via this link. The cover letter should include the following elements:

  • Why you are interested in the position and Gwynedd Mercy University
  • Any additional professional and/or personal experience that informs your qualifications for the position that otherwise is not obvious from your resume.
  • Your salary requirements for the position

Application link: