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President Seligman Statement: Jim Thompson Named Special Counsel

February 18, 2014

During the past eight years Jim Thompson has achieved virtually everything that we set out to accomplish at the University of Rochester in Advancement.  We will complete our $1.2 billion Meliora Challenge Campaign, the largest campaign in our University’s history, by June 30, 2016.  We have strengthened alumni relationships.  We have integrated Advancement into our strategic planning.  Jim has built an outstanding  Advancement program and team. Working with our Board of Trustees, Jim took the initiative in developing an ambitious strategic and implementation plan that today is well ahead of schedule for virtually each area addressed in this plan, including the George Eastman Circle, which has been pivotal in establishing our University Annual Fund as among the fastest growing in the country, new volunteer boards such as National Councils and Regional Cabinets, the Wilson Society to recognize those who make planned gifts to the University, our Faculty Ambassadors program which provides critical outreach to our alumni and friends throughout the country.  Under Jim’s leadership as Chief Advancement Officer we achieved striking success in dramatically increasing our identification of potential supporters and increasing substantially pledges of future gifts to our University.  

Jim and I agree that it is now time for us to focus on the next chapter in our alumni relationships and fundraising.

Jim soon will assume a new role as Special Counsel to the President to advise me on long term issues of further growth in Advancement and our next Campaign.  The challenges of developing the future of our Advancement program are significant.  Therefore Jim will cease being involved in day-to-day operations of Advancement.  This also will allow Jim to focus on trying to build a base of consulting clients, something he has wanted to do for years.

I am determined that while our Capital Campaign may be completed on June 30, 2016,  our momentum with respect to Advancement will continue.