Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Washington College Names Fundraiser Gretchen Dwyer As New VP for Advancement

CHESTERTOWN, MD—Washington College has named Gretchen Dwyer, a fundraiser and 16-year veteran of school development and alumni-relations work, as its new Vice President for College Advancement beginning in mid-January of 2012.

Since 2004, Dwyer, 39, has served as Senior Director of Campaign and Leadership Giving at Bennington College in Vermont. In that role, she managed leadership giving, planned giving, prospect research and donor stewardship. She built and managed Bennington’s leadership-giving program, greatly increasing both the number of donors and the size of gifts to the college during her tenure. She also served on occasion as Interim Vice President for External Relations.

Before joining the Bennington College staff, Dwyer worked for two years as Director of Development at the Tower School, an independent K-9 school in Marblehead, Mass., and for four years at Boston University, where she served as the Director of Development and Alumni Relations for the College and Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.

In announcing the appointment to the campus and alumni communities, Washington College President Mitchell B. Reiss cited Dwyer’s fundraising successes and her reputation for forging strong working relationships with multiple constituencies. “I am delighted that Gretchen has agreed to join us at Washington College,” he said. “She has been a central figure in the success of a number of our nation’s premier advancement programs. The leadership-giving program Gretchen built and manages has been responsible for Bennington College’s receipt of more six-, seven-, and eight-figure gifts in the past seven years than in its entire 79-year history. I am confident she will make enormous contributions to Washington College.”

“I am very excited about coming to Washington College and Chestertown,” said Dwyer. “I am looking forward to building on the staff’s great fundraising and alumni relations successes and working together with all members of the Washington College community to raise support for such a dynamic and distinctive college. The combination of the College’s attributes—its known strengths in writing, the excellent programming at its CES [Center for Environment and Society] and C.V. Starr Center, a proud alumni body, a stellar faculty and talented students—is irresistible to me. My family is also excited to join the Chestertown community.”

A native of California, Dwyer earned a bachelor’s degree in English and African Studies from St. Lawrence University in Canton, N.Y., and a master’s degree in literacy, language and cultural studies from Boston University. She and her husband, Tom Dwyer, have three children, ages 6, 5, and 2.

Dwyer’s appointment concludes a lengthy national search and fills a year-long vacancy in Washington College’s Advancement office. President Reiss thanked Barbara Heck, the Associate Vice President for Leadership Gifts, who has led the department since October of last year. “Barbara and the entire Advancement staff have worked diligently to keep donor development and stewardship on course. I know they will assist Gretchen in every way as we welcome the Dwyer family into our campus and our community.”

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