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Ithaca College Names Experienced Fundraising Professional as Vice President for Institutional Advancement

Contributed by News on 07/17/19 

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An experienced professional with a proven record of engaging constituencies to create a positive impact on philanthropy at both public and private colleges and universities has been named vice president for institutional advancement at Ithaca College. Wendy Kobler, who currently holds the same title at Kentucky State University in Frankfort, will join the college on Sept. 1.

Kobler has previously held executive positions in advancement at Alabama A&M University in Huntsville, Purdue University Fort Wayne in Indiana, and Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio.

At each stop, she has assessed, strengthened and organized the institutional advancement team; communicated effectively with the campus community; nurtured a strong culture of philanthropy; and successfully planned, organized and executed a major fundraising initiative.

“Throughout her career, Wendy’s demonstrated truly great results by using her creativity and savvy to navigate challenging cultures and drive success within lean-resource environments,” said Ithaca College President Shirley M. Collado. “I was strongly drawn to her for this important leadership role at IC not only because of her impressive accomplishments, but also because of her ability to build high-performing teams through thoughtful hiring practices, mentoring, and coaching, and her knack for revitalizing or helping to construct a thriving culture of philanthropy.”

With strengths in revenue growth, donor relations, communication strategies and continual process improvements, Kobler has experience leading development efforts in support of institutional strategic plans. This fall, Ithaca College will launch its own transformational strategic plan, Imagining Ithaca, from which Kobler will partner with IC’s academic and administrative leadership team and board of trustees to build new fundraising priorities and a visionary case for support.

“A college’s future is made possible through the daily achievements of its advancement division, since philanthropy is the catalyst that can help transform ideas into action,” said Kobler. “As a first-generation college graduate, I understand the meaningful and comprehensive impact that a college education can make in one’s life. Today’s students need access to affordable, quality education to help them realize the promise of their dreams, and I am looking forward to helping students at Ithaca College fulfill that promise.”

Kobler earned her bachelor’s degree in marketing from the University of West Florida, master’s degree in marketing education from Alabama A&M and Ph.D. in global leadership from the Indiana Institute of Technology.

Earlier in her career, she held marketing and public relations positions in the private sector, ran her own communications consulting business and was the lead organizer for the annual U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Conference, all in Huntsville.

A frequent presenter at CASE (Council for the Advancement and Support of Education) conferences, Kobler earned the organization’s Grand Award for Diversity and Inclusion in 2014. Her other honors include Woman of Distinction recognition by the Girl Scouts of North Alabama and a Presidential Medallion for record fundraising at Alabama A&M.

A Strategic Philanthropic Thinker
Wittenberg University alumna Sarah Hagen McWilliams was an active board member and vice chair of the advancement committee during Kobler’s tenure at the Ohio university, and can certainly attest to her abilities.

“Wendy is a game-changer with an outstanding proven track record when it comes to all aspects of higher education advancement,” said Hagen McWilliams. “Her collaborative and engaging style, as well as her vast knowledge, experience and commitment to excellence and best practices, truly sets her apart in the higher ed advancement world. She is a joy to work with and I’m thrilled she is joining the Ithaca College family.”

Hagen McWilliams, along with her father, Thomas B. Hagen, has donated generously to Wittenberg.

Kobler recruited and served as a mentor to M. Quincy Davidson while with the advancement office at Purdue University Fort Wayne. Davidson is now the vice president for partnership in the alumni office at Purdue’s flagship campus in West Lafayette.

“Wendy is a visionary and strategic thinker who relies on data to drive strategy that aligns with university priorities,” said Davidson. “What energizes her the most are alumni stories and their reason for giving. Wendy will bring a ‘can do’ attitude to the Ithaca College community, and I am certain that she will inspire others to bring the same.”

Kobler has held leadership roles with a number of organizations in the communities in which she has lived and worked, including the boards of directors of the Japan American Society of Kentucky, Downtown Frankfort Incorporated, Women4Women, Huntsville Community Chorus and LifeSouth Blood Bank.

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