Alumni and Development changes name to University Advancement

New name reflects renewed purpose, vision for advancing university’s mission

Alumni & Development Programs at Washington University in St. Louis has changed its name to University Advancement to better reflect the department’s renewed purpose to advance the university’s mission.

The name change comes after a yearlong assessment by a national consulting firm that examined the department’s engagement with key university stakeholders as well as evaluated its fundraising programs.

Pamella Henson

“While we have had an incredibly successful track record as a department for many decades, it was an opportune time — with transitions in leadership at the university and in our department — to examine our work and think about ways we can enhance it,” said Pamella A. Henson, executive vice chancellor for University Advancement.

“We took a deep look at everything we do to ensure we fully realize our highest purpose of inspiring the global WashU community to engage in advancing the university’s mission of improving lives through teaching, research, patient care and service to society,” Henson said. “In so doing, we can help the university community make a profound difference in the world.

“‘Advancement’ signals that our vision transcends fundraising. We are advancing the highest priorities of the university and inspiring and engaging people from across our community — alumni, parents, friends, corporate, foundation and organizational leaders,” Henson said. “The renaming signals a shift — a renewed purpose and vision in the way we go about our work.”

“I am grateful to Pam Henson for the extensive review of her department and the thoughtful planning to position University Advancement for continued success,” said Chancellor Andrew D. Martin. “The new name captures the spirit and energy of the department under Pam’s leadership and highlights its commitment to advancing the university’s mission.

“I look forward to seeing how University Advancement will continue to increase our momentum and inspire engagement with an even greater sense of purpose and resolve,” Martin added.

Henson noted that the ways people want to engage with the university, receive communications and provide philanthropic support have changed through the years.

“We recognize that we need to have as dynamic a relationship as possible with our alumni, parents and friends, as they are our very best ambassadors and advocates.”

Pamella A. Henson

“We recognize that we need to have as dynamic a relationship as possible with our alumni, parents and friends, as they are our very best ambassadors and advocates,” Henson said. “They are giving their time and treasure to the university, and as their preferences for engaging and communicating with us change, we need to change with them.”

She said that her department is soliciting input from alumni, parents, friends, campus partners and others to make changes or enhancements aligned with their needs.

Henson also said that among her objectives for University Advancement are to build stronger collaborations with campus partners and to work closely with them to advance their priorities.

Her department also is reviewing its events and programming in St. Louis, as well as around the country and the world, to ensure connections with the university are meaningful and more personalized.

“And because we have lifelong relationships with our alumni, we want to be sure that the programs, volunteer opportunities and other ways we seek to engage with them are appropriate at each and every stage of their lives,” Henson said. “Our alumni are incredibly talented and astute, brilliant and diverse, and their continued thoughtful engagement provides immeasurable benefit to the university.”

Henson noted that in Martin’s inaugural address, he made a commitment to maintain and enhance the university’s reputation as a place of academic distinction and educational access. She sees the University Advancement team solidly positioned to support his vision.

“As we have renewed and enhanced our department’s purpose and clearly defined our role both within the university and the global WashU community, I feel energy and enthusiasm among our incredibly talented and committed team,” Henson said. “Now we need to make sure our work is a reflection of our purpose — every single day.”

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