On the heels of the highly successful conclusion of Washington University in St. Louis’ $3.3-billion Leading Together capital campaign, the university has announced administrative changes in the organizational leadership of its alumni and development team.
Effective Jan. 1, 2019, David T. Blasingame, executive vice chancellor for alumni and development, will conclude his tenure, and Pamella A. Henson, currently vice chancellor for alumni and development programs, will be promoted to executive vice chancellor for alumni and development. William S. Stoll, currently vice chancellor for development, will be promoted to senior vice chancellor for alumni and development programs.
“As we celebrate what we were able to accomplish through Leading Together, it only seems appropriate that we also acknowledge the outstanding leadership that has served the university’s alumni and development needs so well for so long, and to look ahead to the next chapter,” Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton said. “David Blasingame has dedicated his career to ensuring that Washington University is well-resourced to fulfill its mission, and he has cultivated highly capable leaders to follow in his footsteps.
“I am extraordinarily grateful to him, and also very pleased that Pam Henson will further the remarkable legacy created over the last several decades under David’s leadership, as she steps into her new role. She has demonstrated for many years that she has the knowledge and skill to be successful in this position and I know she will guide our alumni and development programs effectively. I am also reassured to know that Bill Stoll will assume a larger role in our development enterprise, lending his considerable expertise to our efforts. Pam and Bill make an excellent team and I could not be happier to see them both rewarded for their exceptional work on behalf of the university.”
A transformative leader
Blasingame joined the university in 1974 and has led alumni and development programs since 1990, overseeing Leading Together and its predecessor, The Campaign for Washington University. In this role, he has been responsible for all development activities for the university, as well as all schools of the university, and for alumni and parent relations. His portfolio also has included oversight of corporation and foundation relations, national councils and other related programs.
He began his career at the university as associate director of alumni relations and in 1976 was named associate director for alumni annual giving, then in 1978 he became director of development for Olin Business School and University College. In 1985, he became executive director for schools alumni and development programs, and was promoted later that year to assistant vice chancellor with the added responsibilities of alumni and parent relations. Two years later, he was promoted to associate vice chancellor and director of alumni and development programs, assuming responsibility for the offices of corporate and foundation relations, and planned giving. In 1990, he became vice chancellor for alumni and development programs, and was promoted into his current role in 2004.
A double graduate of Washington University, Blasingame earned his bachelor’s degree in 1969, and his MBA in 1971. The recipient of a full scholarship, he reflected on his career path leading him back to the university after serving two years in the U.S. Army post-graduation. “I had a great experience here,” he reflected in 2004 at the conclusion of The Campaign for Washington University. “I loved the university, I loved the professors and my classmates, and they were some of the best years of my life. I was also very grateful for the scholarship support and the professors who took an interest in me. I thought it was a great place and wanted to be a part of it so I could help do for others what had been done for me.”
“In over four decades of service to Washington University, including almost three decades leading the alumni and development organization, David Blasingame has established a remarkable record of advancing the university’s fundraising status among the elite educational institutions of this country and world,” said John F. McDonnell, a life trustee and retired chairman of the board of McDonnell Douglas Corp., who led the initial leadership phase of Leading Together from 2009 to 2012. “Through his thoughtful and strategic leadership, David has built a solid foundation for his beloved alma mater, ensuring that it will be able to continue to expand its important work in service to society. He also has nurtured and developed the next generation of leaders in alumni and development programs, and we are delighted that Pam and Bill will pick up where David leaves off, seamlessly continuing the university’s trajectory of excellence in these high priority programs.”
Announced publicly in 2012, Leading Together: The Campaign for Washington University, a major multiyear fundraising initiative with an initial goal of $2.2 billion in funding toward university priorities, ended June 30 with a record-breaking $3.378 billion in gifts and commitments. Its predecessor, The Campaign for Washington University, launched in 1998, ended in 2004 with $1.55 billion in gifts and commitments.
Following the leadership transition and a sabbatical, Blasingame will remain at the university in an advisory role.
Into the future
Henson, who was promoted into her current position in 2016, will step into the senior-most leadership role at alumni and development and assume the responsibilities of executive vice chancellor, reporting directly to the chancellor.
A graduate of the University of Michigan with a bachelor’s degree in communications, Henson began her development career at the Lawrence Institute of Technology in Southfield, Mich., and worked in other development-related positions, including at the University of Redlands, before joining the Washington University staff in 1993 as regional director of development. Three years later, she was named director of capital projects. When the Siteman Cancer Center opened in 2000, she was appointed its executive director of development. She was promoted into the role of assistant vice chancellor for schools alumni and development programs in 2005, and shortly thereafter was again promoted to associate vice chancellor for alumni and development programs.
Stoll joined Washington University’s alumni and development team in 1993 as regional director of development. Four years later, he was named director of regional development programs, then senior director of regional development programs. He also served as executive director of regional development programs and as assistant vice chancellor before being promoted to associate vice chancellor in 2005 and to vice chancellor in 2016. He came to St. Louis after working in Washington, D.C., first at American University and then at the National Academy of Sciences. He began his career at Ursinus College, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in political science. He also earned a master’s degree in liberal arts from Washington University.
“This combination of very strong leadership, a long tenure of success, and deep knowledge of the university will help to ensure that we maintain the momentum we generated through Leading Together. I am very proud of David, Pam and Bill’s accomplishments and look forward to tremendous efforts to come,” Wrighton said.