Fred Van Sickle named VP for alumni affairs, development

ITHACA, N.Y. – Fred Van Sickle, chief development officer at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey, has been named Cornell’s next vice president for alumni affairs and development, President Elizabeth Garrett announced today. He will begin his new position Jan. 18.

Van Sickle, who has held his current post since 2014, previously served as executive vice president for university development and alumni relations at Columbia University, where he oversaw the completion of a seven-year, $6.1 billion capital campaign in 2013.

“I am delighted to welcome a leader of Fred’s caliber to the university. He brings unparalleled experience and a proven track record of accomplishment in higher education fundraising and community building. We are setting ambitious goals for the university, and Fred will be key to developing and implementing many of the strategies to enable our success,” said Garrett. “I also want to thank Jeff McCarthy for his wise counsel and steadfast stewardship while serving as interim vice president. His leadership during this transition truly has been exemplary.”

Robert S. Harrison, chair of the Cornell Board of Trustees, said: “As we reach the successful end of the Cornell Now campaign, it is imperative we continue engaging with our alumni and developing new partnerships that will build on the campaign’s momentum so we can take the university to the next level. I have every confidence that Fred is the perfect person for the job.”

Van Sickle will be responsible for a comprehensive and integrated development and alumni relations program, working collaboratively with academic, administrative and volunteer partners to increase philanthropic support and strengthen alumni engagement. He will lead a team of 350 staff members.

“I am excited to join Beth Garrett and her team and to lead such a strong group of seasoned professionals,” said Van Sickle. “Cornell alumni, parents and friends have a reputation for being incredibly engaged, vocal supporters of the university, and I look forward to tapping into that energy. Cornell has all the ingredients necessary to achieve even greater heights.”

Van Sickle has three decades of experience in fundraising and alumni relations. At the Institute for Advanced Study, he is responsible for fundraising, constituency outreach and communications. Under his leadership the institute recently completed a $212 million campaign.

He joined Columbia in 2002 as deputy vice president for university development and served as vice president from 2003-10 before being named executive vice president in 2011. Van Sickle was a key architect of the $6.1 billion capital campaign, one of the most successful fundraising efforts undertaken by any university. He also oversaw creation of a five-year, integrated alumni and development “post-campaign” plan; launched Columbia’s first Giving Day, which used social media to raise $6.8 million from 5,000 donors in one day; and developed a professional training program for internal talent.

A career fundraiser, Van Sickle has held positions at the University of Michigan, Lake Forest College, Princeton University and Wesleyan University.

Van Sickle earned a B.A., cum laude with distinction, in history from Lake Forest College in 1983, a Master of Education degree from Harvard University in 1989, and a Doctor of Education degree, with distinction, from the University of Pennsylvania in 1996.

Van Sickle and his wife, Susan, an early childhood music educator, look forward to joining the Ithaca community. They have two adult children.

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