Topi named Student Affairs development director
With an extensive set of cultivation and stewardship skills focused in higher education, Jason Topi has been appointed Syracuse University’s first director of development for the Division of Student Affairs. The appointment is made as the Division of Student Affairs enters the final execution stages of its 2001-06 strategic plan and begins mapping its course for the next five years.
“When this new position was created, the expectation was to fill it with an individual who has demonstrated an exceptional skill set in fund raising practices, leadership, and strategic development planning. Jason’s achievements illustrate these core competencies that are complemented by experience specifically related to student affairs,” says Barry L. Wells, senior vice president and dean of student affairs. “The Division of Student Affairs welcomes Jason with great enthusiasm as he begins to shape the division’s development programs that will create new opportunities for engaging our students.”
Prior to joining SU, Topi was the associate director of major gifts at Hamilton College in Clinton, where he was responsible for strategic outreach to principal parent donors and prospects, which included leadership for the college’s communications and development efforts in the realm of parent fundraising. Additionally, he created programs to cultivate high-level prospects and steward the institution’s most generous donors. Earlier, as director of Colgate University’s annual fund, he provided leadership in creating a strategic plan that allowed Colgate to realize a marked increase in alumni participation and consecutive years of record-breaking unrestricted gift totals.
In his new position, Topi will apply that experience, working closely with Wells and Lil Breul O’Rourke, vice president and chief development officer in the Division of Institutional Advancement, to establish an effective development program within the Division of Student Affairs.
For Topi, vision and leadership are natural partners and guides. Amid the first steps of developing priorities, listening to and talking with leaders in the division’s 22 departments, he keeps his goal in mind. He aims to connect his division’s aspirations with the dreams of potential donors. “Philanthropists look for bold plans and exciting ideas to support,” says Topi. Given his conversations with the student affairs team, “I know we can rise to that challenge,” he says.
Topi received a bachelor’s degree from Hamilton College and is a member of the Council for Advancement and Support of Education. A Central New York native, he lives with his wife and children in Clinton, where he’s a member of the village volunteer fire department.