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Armstrong, Wason Promoted within Advancement and External Affairs
Chief Advancement Officer and Senior Vice President Matthew Ter Molen has announced two promotions within the Division of Advancement and External Affairs (AEA). He has appointed Deborah Armstrong as vice president for development, while Sara Wason has been promoted to assistant vice president in charge of the newly merged Office of Corporate and Foundation Relations.
“As the Academic Strategic Plan emerges and the Campus Framework takes shape, Syracuse will need to grow philanthropic support from alumni, parents, corporations and foundations,” says Matthew Ter Molen, chief advancement officer and senior vice president. “Expanding the breadth of our advancement work is crucial to the future success of Syracuse University. Deborah and Sara are respected leaders, both nationally and within the University community, and are well-poised to lead their respective advancement teams as we go forward.”
Armstrong has served for the past 15 months as the interim vice president for development. She is a proven manager, strategic leader and fundraiser. Knowing the importance of fundraising and relationship-building during the past several months of transition, Armstrong engaged the development staff in the planning and execution of an aggressive annual plan to reach the AEA goal of $103 million raised in 2014-15. This is more than a 40 percent increase over last year’s total.
Skilled in the area of organizational development, program assessment and design and change management, Armstrong was assigned a number of projects that led to the success of the recent campaign, including the development and implementation of a $17 million campaign for a new Life Sciences Complex, the creation of a regional development program that included the implementation of volunteer leadership councils in each region and serving for a year as the interim director for alumni relations with the charge of review, evaluation and recommendations for its future growth.
Armstrong has more than 20 years of experience in development. She joined the University in 2001, and during her time here, she has overseen and led nearly all aspects of the development function, both centrally and within the schools and colleges.
Prior to joining the University, Armstrong worked in the nonprofit sector for several youth organizations, including YMCA and Big Brothers Big Sisters in the Midwest. She holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology from SUNY Oswego and a master’s degree from Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota. She is currently a student in the Maxwell School’s executive master of public administration program.
“It is an exciting time for Syracuse,” says Armstrong. “There is a great deal of change in the air, and with great change comes great opportunity. I am grateful to have the chance to be a part of the synergy that will shape the future of this prestigious University and its unlimited possibilities.”
Wason will serve as the head of the newly created single access point for corporations and foundations that wish to engage with the University. The unit will facilitate connections to on-campus partners and resources, and ensure that relationships are well stewarded.
The Academic Strategic Plan will provide much of the focus for the unit’s efforts, enabling corporations and foundations to engage with the University in a range of opportunities that address mutual needs, including sponsored research, internships and recruitment, philanthropy and in-kind support, curriculum enhancement and executive participation on campus. In addition to working closely with faculty, deans and alumni networks, the unit will maintain strong links to the provost, vice president of research, the Office of Career Services and the University’s tech transfer, licensing and commercialization resources.
Wason G’00 was previously executive director of the Foundation Relations team and has held increasingly responsible positions within AEA. Over her 20-year career at the University, she has garnered significant support from foundations and businesses for University priorities. A member of the Academic Strategic Plan Steering Committee and the University Leadership Team, she received her master’s in nonprofit management from the Maxwell School.
“I’m thrilled about the potential of this new central unit,” Wason says. “Engaging with our corporate and foundation partners in a more strategic and comprehensive way will not only help them navigate the University more easily, but will also allow the University to connect to a greater number of external opportunities.”