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Vice President for University Advancement candidate addresses OHIO


On Thursday, Lori Lewis, a candidate for the position of vice president for university advancement and CEO of the Ohio University Foundation, spoke to the OHIO community during her open forum.

The forum was held as part of her interview for the position.

Lewis spoke to the audience about the importance of positive relationships between the University and donors, both within the University Advancement office and within the University.

“I think one of my strengths is building relationships,” she said. “I have a former staff member in the audience. I have a fairly loyal following, so it’s important to me to build relationships. I practice what I preach. Advancement is about building relationships with donors, with community, with students, with parents. It’s all the same process, so I try to work at it every day.”

Asked about the relationship between Alumni Affairs and Advancement, Lewis said, “I guess, what I see is people working together. I mean both play a very key role in developing relationships. Fundraising is all about relationships.”

She also spoke to the importance of involving faculty members in development.

“Philosophically, I believe faculty play a critical role in fundraising. That’s not always true for a vice president of advancement,” she said. “I think that’s why we’re raising those dollars - because of our academic programs and our students who know that better than the faculty?”

Lewis also discussed her experience working in development at Ohio University. She made multiple references to her former coworkers in the audience.

Lewis was questioned about the importance of annual giving, her experience with it, and how she would modify the current model.

“I worked in many capacities with annual giving, but I’m actively engaged in that process. We’re really looking at how we can modify moving away from the phonathon and the direct mail pieces to look at the younger generation who communicate with their thumbs most of the time,” she said, referring to social media and smart phone users.

In her closing, Lewis said, “I want to come back. [Ohio University] is a wonderful place to be, and I’ll tell you that all institutions have their struggles.”