Yale Vice President for Development Charles Pagnam will step down from his position at the end of October, ending a seven-year tenure as the University’s head fundraiser.
Pagnam’s departure comes as the University prepares to launch a seven-year capital campaign next year. Administrators said the campaign will raise over $1 billion to fund recommendations from last year’s academic review and other University projects including residential college renovations. Pagnam, who has served Yale for 27 years and led two other major campaigns, said he is leaving Yale before the next campaign begins to pursue other challenges, though he said he has no specific plans.
“I’ve had a good long run, and for me it’s been a life-transforming experience,” Pagnam said. “I have the urge to use my skills at another institution or in another way.”
Pagnam, 49, sent an e-mail to friends and colleagues Sunday, informing them of his decision to leave, but no public announcement has been made.
Yale President Richard Levin said he thinks Pagnam has been a vital asset to the University. Levin commended Pagnam for fostering good relations with alumni.
“He has helped make Yale extremely successful with alumni,” Levin said. “He’s been responsible for our largest donors during the past campaign.”
At his current post, Pagnam oversees and organizes the University’s fundraising efforts, tapping the resources of corporations, foundations and alumni. During Pagnam’s tenure, Yale’s overall annual contributions have risen from $203 million to $350 million. A recent study in the Chronicle of Higher Education ranked Yale first in alumni giving among U.S. universities.
Yale Provost Andrew Hamilton said he thinks Pagnam’s leadership has helped the University fund many programs and initiatives.
“[Pagnam] has been a vital and important part of Yale’s fundraising mission over many years,” Hamilton said. “We all wish him well in his future career.”
Pagnam has also been an important leader in the effort to build and renovate facilities, Yale Divinity School development officer John Lindner said.
“I’ve always been amazed at the way he personally knows many supporters of the University and is up-to-date on the details of what’s happening at all the different schools,” Lindner said.
Associate Vice President for Development Joan O’Neill will become acting vice president for development while Levin conducts a search for a new head of development. The new choice must be approved by the Yale Corporation, the University’s highest decision-making body.
“Charlie did a great job for Yale,” said Corporation Fellow Susan Crown, who chairs a standing committee on development and alumni affairs. “I am sure that both insiders and external candidates will be part of the process to replace him.”
Pagnam said he will serve as special advisor for campaign planning to Levin while he decides on a future career path.
Prior to being named vice president, Pagnam served as director of development and helped organize the 1992 to 1997 “… And for Yale” campaign, which raised $1.7 billion, making it the largest capital campaign in the history of higher education at the time.