University of Alberta names new VP of Advancement 4 May 2015

A new vice-president of advancement will lead the University of Alberta’s efforts to build on the record levels of philanthropic support it has achieved in recent years.

The University of Alberta Board of Governors, with unanimous support from the advisory committee, has approved the appointment of Heather McCaw to the position of vice-president (advancement), effective Sept. 15, 2015.

McCaw, currently co-director of the University of British Columbia’s $1.5-billion fundraising and alumni engagement campaign and associate vice-president (development), has more than 25 years’ experience in university fundraising and strategic business partnerships, the majority gained at UBC.

“Heather’s wealth of experience in leading ongoing development activities, and her successful track record in principal and major gift fundraising along with stakeholder and alumni engagement is extremely impressive,” said U of A President-Elect David Turpin, who co-chaired the search committee with President Indira Samarasekera.

“Equally impressive is her ability to lead a collaborative approach to fundraising in a centralized/decentralized, multi-campus reality,” Samarasekera added. “We are absolutely delighted to welcome her to the University of Alberta leadership team.”

In her UBC role, McCaw has been responsible for more than 160 staff across three campuses, a central office and 16 decentralized fundraising units. Her team has consistently raised more than $200 million annually for UBC programs, endowments and capital projects. She was also one of the pioneers of UBC’s successful International Fundraising program that is now active in numerous countries around the world.

In addition to her university experience, McCaw has been vice-president of two associated consulting companies, Give Canada Fundraising Corporation and Spectrum Marketing Corporation. These organizations specialize in securing strategic business partnerships and multimillion-dollar donations on behalf of non-profit clients that have included the United Way of the Lower Mainland, the Rick Hansen Foundation, the universities of Calgary and Victoria, and the Toronto Rehab Foundation.

McCaw describes the opportunity to lead the U of A’s advancement opportunities as a privilege.

"The University of Alberta is clearly a very special place,” she said. “I am drawn by its extraordinary energy and ambition, and impressed by the tremendous level of community engagement and support for the critical role the institution plays in our future. I look forward to working with alumni, donors and the broader community to continue to build on the university's tradition of excellence, innovation and service."

The vice-president (advancement) is responsible for providing vision and direction to a full-scale institutional advancement program, including the development and execution of programs that produce measurable results and visibility for the university. The position also supports and advances the important role of a strong Alumni Relations program, working with the university’s Alumni Council to develop the alumni base both nationally and internationally.

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