Dear Ithaca College community,
I am writing to share the news that Chris Biehn, vice president for institutional advancement, will soon be leaving Ithaca College. Chris has let me know that, after 18 years in advancement leadership positions, he plans to seek a new path for the next stage in the career he has built supporting the mission of education through philanthropy. His last day at IC will be April 15, 2019.
Chris joined Ithaca College in 2012, following senior leadership positions in institutional advancement at Drew University and The Williston Northampton School. When Chris arrived at IC, he was charged with creating a modern advancement operation and a stronger culture of engagement and philanthropy, both on the Board of Trustees and within the broader Ithaca College community. From June of 2015 until this past January, Chris also led the Office of College Relations and Communications.
During his leadership tenure, the college met its IC 20/20 comprehensive campaign goal, experienced a significant increase in dollars given to the IC Annual Fund, and raised more dollars for endowed scholarships than in any previous campaign. Chris also led the division in developing a “rings of engagement” model for engaging alumni, parents, and friends through increasingly responsible volunteer opportunities, which has helped to create a more diverse and experienced pipeline into the Alumni Association Board of Directors and Board of Trustees. These important accomplishments, and the strong work that Chris and his team have done to build an infrastructure based in analytics, are certain to position Ithaca College very well for success in our next strategic plan.
As anyone in our community who knows him can attest, Chris loves Ithaca College and its commitments to excellence, inclusion, intellect, creativity, and the nurturing of each student’s character. He has led with compassion, grit, and a profound dedication to the college’s mission. I know that Chris has deeply valued the opportunities he has had to lead a very talented advancement team; collaborate with smart, caring, devoted, and thoughtful colleagues; and work with alumni to build the resources of the college.
I plan to search for our next vice president for institutional advancement on an ambitious time frame, so that a successor can be in place by the fall when we begin the implementation phases of the strategic plan. Until then, I am pleased to share that two trusted Ithaca College advisors will be making themselves available to guide me and the institutional advancement leadership team on both strategy and operations. Karin George, principal and co-owner of Washburn & McGoldrick, and Maya Gasuk, senior associate at West Wind Consulting, are widely respected experts in philanthropy and engagement who have strong relationships with the advancement team and deep knowledge of Ithaca College’s advancement efforts. I am confident that their counsel will help the team maintain momentum during this very important time for the college. I am grateful for Karin’s and Maya’s support, and even more grateful to everyone in the Division of Institutional Advancement for all that they do to ensure a vibrant future for Ithaca College.
Please join me in thanking Chris for his service to Ithaca College, and in wishing him well as he continues his successful career in engagement and philanthropy.
All my best,
Shirley M. Collado