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Lauren R. Villanueva Named Vice President of Alumni Engagement
As Syracuse University continues to advance several priorities related to its fundraising and alumni engagement efforts, Matt Ter Molen, senior vice president and chief advancement officer, announced the appointment of Lauren R. Villanueva as the University’s next vice president of alumni engagement, following a search. Villanueva begins her new role July 18.
Villanueva comes to Syracuse from Drexel University, where she has served as the assistant vice president and executive director of the Alumni Board of Governors since 2017. She first joined Drexel in 2007 as associate director of alumni relations and has since held progressively responsible roles within the department.
“Lauren’s deep expertise in strategic planning, program development, board management and team leadership made her a natural fit to lead our already well-established alumni engagement team and position us for success in the remaining phase of the Forever Orange Campaign,” says Ter Molen. “Her 15-year tenure at Drexel afforded her the opportunity to experience all facets of alumni engagement, and to recognize how teams and events must evolve to meet the needs of a growing, global alumni base. We’re thrilled to welcome Lauren into the Syracuse University community.”
In her current role, Villanueva sits on the senior leadership team for Drexel’s alumni relations and development division. Her primary responsibility is developing strategy to guide programs, volunteer engagement and data management in the context of the university’s current $750 million campaign, The Future is a Place We Make. Her portfolio also includes managing the Alumni Board of Governors to enhance the organization’s effectiveness and strengthen its role as a strategic partner.
Villanueva sets strategic goals for alumni programming and volunteer efforts to support the achievement of the campaign goal to engage at least 35,000 alumni as donors, activity participants and volunteers. Under her leadership, Drexel alumni partnered with colleagues in advancement, as well as in academic and administrative units across campus, to engage more than 42,000 alumni as donors, volunteers and activity participants during the campaign. This figure represented a 20% increase over the initial campaign goal. She has sole management responsibility for signature alumni events like homecoming and alumni weekend, as well as all core programs, including alumni career services, shared interest/affinity programs, recent graduate/student programs, signature campus partnerships and internal operations. In addition, she has led data management practices to support the development of Drexel’s Alumni Engagement Index.
“Over the past few months, I have met many members of the Syracuse University community. Their passion for the institution, dedication to advancing its strategic goals and commitment to keeping alumni engaged in the life of the institution was evident throughout our conversations. I am honored to join the Orange family and look forward to partnering with the advancement and external affairs team, campus partners and volunteer leaders to build on such an exemplary alumni engagement program,” says Villanueva. “I look forward to contributing to strategies that build a culture of philanthropy, deepen relationships with alumni who are already advocates for the institution, and engage future leaders and donors in moving the University forward.”
Villanueva holds both a bachelor of arts in communications and a master of science in higher education administration and organizational management from Drexel, where she is currently a student in the Ed.D. program, pursuing a research interest in talent management within the advancement function. She has also served as an adjunct instructor for Drexel’s School of Education and College of Arts and Sciences and is a regular presenter for the Council for Advancement and Support of Education and other professional organizations.
Villanueva, her husband and two daughters will be relocating from Philadelphia to Syracuse over the summer.
About Syracuse University
Syracuse University is a private research university that advances knowledge across disciplines to drive breakthrough discoveries and breakout leadership. Our collection of 13 schools and colleges with over 200 customizable majors closes the gap between education and action, so students can take on the world. In and beyond the classroom, we connect people, perspectives and practices to solve interconnected challenges with interdisciplinary approaches. Together, we’re a powerful community that moves ideas, individuals and impact beyond what’s possible.
About Forever Orange: The Campaign for Syracuse University
Orange isn’t just our color. It’s our promise to leave the world better than we found it. Forever Orange: The Campaign for Syracuse University is poised to do just that. Fueled by 150 years of fearless firsts, together we can enhance academic excellence, transform the student experience and expand unique opportunities for learning and growth. Forever Orange endeavors to raise $1.5 billion in philanthropic support, inspire 125,000 individual donors to participate in the campaign, and actively engage one in five alumni in the life of the University. Now is the time to show the world what Orange can do. Visit foreverorange.syr.edu to learn more.