Yale President Richard Levin has tapped Inge Reichenbach, the top fund-raiser at Cornell University, to become Yale’s new vice president for development, an appointment that comes as the University is preparing for the public launch of a capital campaign next year that could net as much as $1 billion.
The appointment of Reichenbach, who has served as Cornell’s vice president of alumni affairs and development since 1995 and will assume her officer position at Yale this June, follows Levin’s national search to replace Charles Pagnam, who stepped down from the post in October.
Reached at her home in Ithaca, N.Y., on Wednesday night, Reichenbach said she is looking forward to steering Yale’s fund-raising efforts.
“I’m thrilled, as you can imagine, and I really look forward to joining Yale,” said Reichenbach, who was born, raised and educated in Germany. “I think Yale has very, very ambitious goals and plans, so I think I will have to roll up my sleeves, and together with what I believe is a really terrific staff, we’ll get ready for the job.”
Levin, who announced the appointment yesterday, said that her experience with university fund raising will benefit Yale in future years.
“Inge Reichenbach brings a wealth of experience to a task that is of critical importance to Yale’s future,” Levin, who could not be reached for comment last night, said in a press statement. “The breadth and depth of her knowledge of the academic enterprise is outstanding, and the entire officer team at Yale is impressed by her strategic understanding of the challenges involved in fund raising today.”
Reichenbach has been credited with record successes in fund raising at Cornell. Under her direction, the university ranked third in alumni donations among private universities last year, raking in an all-time high of $386 million, according to a study released last month by the Council for Aid to Education. Yale ranked ninth in the same survey by collecting $265 million, but it has a smaller alumni base than Cornell, which enrolls about 20,000 students annually compared to about 11,000 at Yale.
Reichenbach said the key to Cornell’s success has been the university’s emphasis on nurturing relationships with individual alumni.
“I believe that this is a major factor in people’s philanthropy,” she said.
Joan O’Neill, who has been serving as Yale’s acting vice president for development since Pagnam’s departure, will reassume her role as associate vice president for development. She said she expects Reichenbach will continue to foster relationships with top Yale donors, as well as map out the University’s priorities for the capital campaign with Levin and other Yale officials.
O’Neill participated in Levin’s search committee and said she was never in the running to permanently replace Pagnam, who is now serving as senior vice president for development at the Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City.
“That’s not something I was interested in,” O’Neill said.
Unlike her predecessor Pagnam — who worked at Yale for 20 years directing multiple fund-raising campaigns before becoming its top development officer — Reichenbach will assume the helm of Yale’s fund raising without prior experience at the University. But her new position is not her first tour of duty in Connecticut. She served as director of development at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Conn., from 1984 to 1986. In addition, she has served as the director of corporate giving at Colonial Williamsburg, a historical village in Virginia.