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Thomas Farrell to lead Advancement

August 6, 2014

Thomas FarrellThomas J. Farrell ’88, ’90W (MS) has been named to lead the advancement effort at the University of Rochester, which is in the public phase of a $1.2 billion capital campaign.

Farrell, currently chief development officer for the University of Illinois and president/CEO of the University of Illinois Foundation, will begin at Rochester on Nov. 1. He will replace James Osterholt, who since September 2013 has served in an interim chief advancement officer role.

“Tom Farrell is a highly experienced star in Advancement.  I am delighted that he will soon be leading our Advancement team,” said President Joel Seligman. “He brings strong Rochester connections as an alumnus and as someone who began his career in our Advancement Office. Since then, he has established an exceptional track record of fundraising leadership at the highest level.”

“It is wonderful to return to my alma mater, one of the nation’s great teaching, research, academic health care, and public service universities,” said Farrell. “President Seligman and the broader leadership of the University have set Rochester on a very clear path, anchored in its tradition of a deep commitment to excellence, which has included a concerted effort to further improve its advancement program.  My family and I are delighted to return home to Rochester and I am very eager to begin my work supporting the efforts of the entire UR community in helping the University of Rochester fulfill its important mission.”

man at podium in crowded conference room

Alumni, faculty, and staff at the Alumni and Advancement Center listen as Thomas Farrell is introduced as the new Senior Vice President and James D. Thompson Chief Advancement Officer.

Farrell brings more than 24 years of advancement experience, which began in 1990 as class campaign fundraiser at the University. From 1993-95, he served as director of the University’s Reunion Major Gifts Program, managing multi-million dollar regional campaigns as part of the overall $375 million goal.   He then led the fundraising program at the University of Buffalo School of Law, before joining Dartmouth College as director of gift planning.  In 2001, Farrell began a 10-year stint at the University of Pennsylvania where he managed Penn’s undergraduate and individual giving program and served as a member of its senior management team responsible for coordinating all institutional advancement activity, including strategy for Penn’s recently completed $4.3 billion Making History capital campaign.

“Tom Farrell is an advancement professional of considerable experience and proven ability,” said Ed Hajim, chairman of the University’s Board of Trustees. “He brings an impressive record of accomplishment in campaign leadership and strategy, which will be of great benefit to our University now and in the years ahead.”

In 2010, Farrell joined the University of Chicago as vice president for alumni relations and development, leading a staff of 450 advancement professionals from all schools, divisions and units, including the University of Chicago Medical Center, and planning Chicago’s current comprehensive campaign.

As chief development officer for the University of Illinois and president/CEO of the University of Illinois Foundation since 2012, Farrell oversees development programs that span three campuses and the foundation, with a budget of $53 million and a combined staff of more than 400. As foundation CEO, he also is responsible for its investment office and the university’s core endowment of $1.6 billion. In 2013, the University of Illinois received more than $430 million in new commitments and $238 million in cash gifts from more than 79,000 donors.

Farrell will become senior vice president and James D. Thompson Chief Advancement Officer, a position made possible through a gift from University Trustee Laurence “Larry” H. Bloch ’75 and his wife, Cindy. Created in April 2014, the innovative gift aligns closely with the University’s faculty support goal for The Meliora Challenge: The Campaign for the University of Rochester to attract and retain exceptional professionals.

“Tom Farrell is an exceptional advancement leader,” said Bloch.”He really stood out in the search process as someone who has the intelligence and vision needed for this key leadership position.”

Farrell earned a bachelor’s degree in history and political science, and an M.S. in education, both from Rochester.  In 2005, he completed his Ed.D. at the University of Pennsylvania in higher education management.

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