Release Date: January 5, 2012
BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Nancy L. Wells has been named vice president for development and alumni relations at the University at Buffalo. She will lead the university's fundraising efforts and its engagement with the more than 218,000 alumni worldwide.
Her appointment, announced today by UB President Satish K. Tripathi, followed a national search and is effective March 12.
Wells brings more than 30 years of fundraising and alumni relations experience at the leadership level, including tenures at Stanford University and McGill University, which, with UB, are members of the Association of American Universities (AAU) -- an association of 61 preeminent research-intensive universities in the U.S. and Canada. She also previously served as vice president of development at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle.
Most recently, Wells was director of development for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, the largest repertory theatre in the U.S., based in Ashland, Oregon.
"This is a very exciting appointment, coming at a pivotal moment for UB," said Tripathi. "We are making vital strides in realizing our ambitious vision, and a successful strategy for development and advancement will be critical to taking us there.
"Nancy Wells brings an extraordinary mix of talents and expertise to this key role. She has a keen understanding of the 21st-century university's needs in today's economic climate, but she also brings a wide range of fundraising expertise from outside this arena. And she has a clear vision for ensuring that UB has the resources to propel us forward by building the investments that are critical to our long-range success -- investments in our students, our faculty, our academic enterprise and, ultimately, in the future of UB as a premier public research university."
At UB, Wells will help to foster a culture of philanthropy vital to enhancing the university's mission of excellence, to leading the university in its next capital campaign and to strengthening UB's alumni programs worldwide. She will serve as UB's senior officer for development and alumni relations, and will work closely with Tripathi and other university leaders and volunteers to guide the work of philanthropy at UB.
"I am very excited to serve in this leadership role at UB, and I am looking forward to helping the university achieve its ambitious vision," Wells said. "With its reputation for outstanding academics and research, and its strong support from alumni and community members, UB clearly is positioned to achieve great things."
At Stanford University, Wells held various management and field fundraising positions in the Office of Development before being promoted to associate vice president for university development. In that capacity, Wells was responsible for results and strategic direction for Office of Development units totaling 150 staff, and she was a member of an executive planning group that implemented Stanford's Campaign for Undergraduate Education, a $1 billion endowment initiative that concluded successfully in 2005.
As vice president for development at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Wells reoriented the cancer center's overall development program to enhance its capacity to generate major gift support, resulting in $153 million in philanthropic revenue over a four-year period.
Wells' international expertise will benefit and complement UB's status as one of the most internationally focused universities in the U.S., Tripathi said. UB's enrollment of international students is among the largest on any U.S. campus; the university has 7,000 international alumni and it is a leader in development of overseas education programs. As vice principal for development and alumni relations at McGill University in Montreal, Quebec, Wells planned and directed the quiet phase for a $500 million campaign, and strengthened McGill's alumni relations in Canada and internationally. While at Stanford, she served as the university's major gifts officer for Europe.
Tim Lafferty, president of the UB Alumni association and a member of the search committee that assisted the university in Wells' hiring, said UB alumni worldwide will welcome Wells' appointment. "UB alumni are very engaged with UB's vision for the future," he said. "I expect the university's relationship with alumni to grow even stronger with Nancy Wells' leadership."
Arjang Assad, chair of the search committee and dean of the UB School of Management, said Wells has an impressive ability to secure large gifts, in collaboration with institutional leaders and colleagues. "Nancy has a wealth of experience leading development efforts in a wide range of settings and will be an excellent addition to the university's leadership team," he said.
Wells holds a bachelor's degree in sociology from Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (formerly North Adams State College) and a master of science degree in education from Indiana University.