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John Harvard's Journal

Directing Development

November-December 2007

Tamara Elliott Rogers ’74 has been appointed the University’s vice president for alumni affairs and development, President Drew Faust announced on September 7. The appointment, concluding an extended nationwide search, fills the vacancy left by the departure of Donella Rapier, M.B.A. ’92, announced last winter, and begins to put in place the personnel who will shape a large capital campaign expected to be a major element of Faust’s presidency. (Robert Cashion, director of development for the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, served as acting vice president from July until Rogers assumed her new responsibilities on October 1.)

Tamara Elliott Rogers ’74

Photograph by Tony Rinaldo

Rogers and Faust have worked together closely. As founding dean of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study (RIAS), Faust appointed Rogers associate dean for advancement and planning in January 2001, to oversee the institute’s alumnae, communications, and development offices. Rogers had previously worked in development positions since 1990, including service as Harvard’s associate director of University development and director of University capital projects—key roles in the central fundraising organization during that era’s $2.6-billion University Campaign. She was director of major gifts for the Faculty of Arts and Sciences and earlier, from 1976 to 1990, served as senior admissions officer for the College, specializing in international admissions. She also worked briefly as an executive-search consultant for Heidrick & Struggles, in the nonprofit and education practice.

The Radcliffe Institute experience appears exceptionally pertinent preparation for her new role. The conversion of Radcliffe College into an institute for advanced study led, understandably, to many concerns among alumnae—particularly those from classes predating the Harvard-Radcliffe “non-merger merger” in 1971—about the status of their alma mater and the role of education for women. Those concerns were largely allayed by intensive personal contact, revamped communications, and, recently, the combination of Radcliffe alumnae activities with those of the Harvard Alumni Association, which will now report to Rogers.

The institute enjoyed significant fundraising success during Faust’s decanal tenure, as previously reported (see “A Scholar in the House,” July-August, page 24). Endowed funding was secured for dozens of the new institute’s fellowships and for several new programs, and for extensive facilities renovations and enhancements. Those initiatives, in which Rogers was deeply involved, drew upon renewed support from Radcliffe alumnae and the advice of a Dean’s Council whose members include several leading supporters of the University (among them Nancy Pforzheimer Aronson ’56, Rita E. Hauser, L ’58, Diana Nelson ’84—a former chair of the Harvard College Fund—and Leah Zell Wanger ’71, Ph.D. ’79).

In the release announcing the appointment, Faust said, “Tamara is a Harvard veteran in the best sense of the term. She cares passionately about the University and has deep and broad connections with our alumni. She is a strategic thinker and a highly creative fundraiser who played an important role in Harvard’s last capital campaign. Tamara embraces the new and constantly evolving activities of the University, while taking care to honor our best traditions and commitment to the highest quality in all that we do.”

Rogers said, “I have had the privilege of working with Drew for the past seven years, and I am enormously excited about what she brings to the leadership of the University. It has also been deeply rewarding to work closely with many of Harvard’s extraordinarily energetic and generous alumni and friends, and it is with great pleasure that I will continue to do so.

“Harvard has huge ambitions—to keep its doors open to students from a wide range of backgrounds; to provide them, once here, with an educational experience commensurate with their talents; to attract and support the most outstanding scholars and teachers in every field; and to bring the best thinking and research to bear on problems both fundamental and pressing in the larger world,” Rogers added. “I treasure my wonderful experience at the Radcliffe Institute, and I look forward to returning to the University Development Office and working with a truly outstanding team of colleagues across Harvard in our shared commitment to the University’s mission.”

In concluding her review of giving in the 2005-2006 Radcliffe Institute annual report, Rogers wrote: “Year of Wonders, the title of a 2001 novel by [Radcliffe fellow and Pulitzer Prize winner] Geraldine Brooks, reminds me of the way we experience each year at the Radcliffe Institute, as our fellows analyze and reflect, discover and create. We are profoundly grateful to the many friends who make these wonders possible.”

Now she will engage with the University’s larger universe of friends in pursuit of even more ambitious wonders.