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University Announces Appointments to Expand International Advancement and Support the Board of Trustees
Richard L. Thompson, Chairman of the University’s Board of Trustees, and Chancellor Kent Syverud today announced several appointments that will expand the University’s international advancement and development efforts and further support the Board of Trustees:
Elizabeth Breul O’Rourke, Senior Vice President for Principal Gifts and International Advancement
Elizabeth “Lil” Breul O’Rourke, who has served as Secretary to the Board of Trustees and Vice President for Principal Gifts since 2009, today was named Senior Vice President for Principal Gifts and International Advancement by Chancellor Syverud.
In this new role, O’Rourke will focus on strategically enhancing the University’s global advancement and engagement initiatives and raising its profile internationally. She will develop a global advancement strategy for the University integrating advancement and academic affairs. She also will leverage her deep donor and alumni connections and extensive institutional knowledge to create opportunities for engagement and strategically advance philanthropic support through the cultivation and stewardship of principal gifts.
O’Rourke will report to the Chancellor and continue to serve as a member of his Executive Team. She will work closely with the new Chief Advancement Officer, for whom a search is underway, and serve as a member of the Division of Advancement and External Affairs’ leadership team. In undertaking this new role, O’Rourke will depart her position as Secretary to the Board of Trustees and begin in her new position effective Sept. 1.
“This is a wonderful opportunity for Lil and for the University as a whole to expand its reach and impact in critical international regions,” says Chairman Thompson. “She has been a tremendous asset to the Board over the last five years, and I know she will be invaluable in this new capacity.”
“Lil brings to this role a wealth of experience in advancing the best interests of the University locally, nationally and globally,” says Chancellor Syverud. “The numerous relationships she has forged here will serve us well as we work to expand global development and advancement opportunities and align them with University strategic priorities. I am grateful for her dedicated service to the Board, and I know she will bring the same dedication and commitment to this critically important role.”
O’Rourke has served in a number of advancement roles at Syracuse, including oversight of alumni relations and strategies for alumni outreach and engagement. She also was a key part of the leadership team for the successful $1 billion capital campaign that concluded in 2012. She joined the University in 1983, with her work in advancement covering a broad range of responsibilities. She has served as vice president for development and chief development officer; associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences; and associate vice president of alumni relations. She earned a bachelor’s degree from the College of Arts and Sciences in 1977, and a master of arts degree in public administration from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs in 2004.
James O’Connor, Executive Director of Middle East Advancement and External Affairs
This transition will allow James O’Connor, who has served as executive director of Middle East Advancement and External Affairs since 2010, with an opportunity to further build on his successful advancement and engagement efforts in the Middle East, Turkey and North Africa. O’Connor will continue in this role and lead these efforts in the region. He will work directly with Chancellor Syverud on a strategy to expand and build on these successful efforts as an institutional priority.
Last May, O’Connor led and organized an initial development trip that Chancellor Syverud and Dr. Ruth Chen took to the Middle East. O’Connor will be planning and leading a more extensive trip to the region this December. During the current search underway for a new University Chief Advancement Officer, O’Connor will continue to report to Interim Vice President for Advancement and External Affairs Charles Merrihew. O’Connor joined the University in 2000 having served as a top aide to former Congressman James T. Walsh.
“Our visit in May made clear to me that the University’s influence in the region is growing rapidly thanks to our outstanding alumni and supporters there,” says Chancellor Syverud. “I look forward to working with Jim to advance these efforts.”
Secretary to the Board of Trustees
With O’Rourke’s transition to her new role, Chairman Thompson announced that the Board of Trustees, the governing body of the University, will conduct a search to fill the position of Secretary to the Board of Trustees. The Secretary to the Board oversees trustee relations, supports the overall work of the Board and manages the Office of the Board of Trustees.
“This transition is a good opportunity for us to examine the structure of the Office of the Board of Trustees, including how we can strengthen and enhance its capacity to serve the Trustees and augment its effectiveness,” says Thompson.
As the search is underway, David C. Smith, a longtime University leader, former Vice President for Enrollment Management, and former Vice President for Administrative Planning, will serve as acting Secretary to the Board of Trustees. He will begin in that role on Sept. 2. Smith retired in 2008 after a 35-year career at the University. He is a nationally recognized expert and leader in the field of institutional planning, enrollment management and college planning.
“We are very grateful to David for agreeing to serve as acting Secretary to the Board,” says Thompson. “He will be a great asset to the Board as he has deep familiarity with the University from his many years of his outstanding service here. I look forward to working with him during this important time.”