Univ. offers fundraising expertise in global alliance

As part of a new global alliance of universities, a top official from an Australian school is spending the semester in New Haven, to study about the workings of Yale’s fundraising.

Malcolm Gillies, vice president for development at the Australian National University, traveled across the world to study Yale’s development machine. Following an invitation that University President Richard Levin sent to ANU, Gillies came to New Haven at the beginning of the semester and now runs the ANU development office from Yale’s campus. The ANU’s relationship with Yale is the result of the two universities’ participation — along with eight other universities from around the globe — in the International Alliance of Research Universities.

Officially launched in January 2006, the IARU facilitates partnerships, agreements and collaborations between 10 of the world’s premier research universities. Yale’s fundraising agreement with the ANU is one of many such budding collaborations, said Donald Filer, Yale’s director of international affairs. Gillies’ university has returned the favor by inviting Yale students to conduct research in its many outposts across Australia through an exchange program, which has not yet been launched.

Levin said the original idea for the IARU came from Ian Chubb, vice-chancellor and president of the ANU. The alliance’s members also include four European universities, three Asian universities and the University of California, Berkeley.

“The principal motivation for forming the alliance was to see if these universities could benefit from associating with one another,” Levin said.

One of the primary benefits of the alliance is that member universities can take advantage of unique resources or expertise that each member has at its disposal, Gillies said. The ANU can offer its particularly strong environmental resources, including its field stations scattered throughout Australia, while Yale has a long tradition of alumni cultivation and fundraising that the ANU is trying to develop, he said.

Inge Reichenbach, Yale’s vice president for development and a native of Germany, said large-scale philanthropy is an American phenomenon.

“[It will be helpful for Gillies to] be close by to look at how an American university goes about fundraising,” she said.

Overseas, universities are almost exclusively funded by their governments.

Gillies said he is particularly intrigued by the allegiance Yale students and alumni feel towards the University and the sense of community and belonging that students and graduates have.

“[Yale’s] is a community which isn’t just here, but is increasingly becoming global,” he said. “I haven’t seen an undergraduate yet who isn’t fully engaged.”

Gillies’s central challenge will be locating ANU’s alumni, he said The university has not kept track of its graduates, he said, and he estimates that there are upwards of 800 ANU alumni in the United States. He attributed this to the fact that the ANU trains many government officials and academics, who tend to be mobile and thus hard to keep up with.

Other collaborations between Yale and IARU member universities are underway, Filer said. This past summer, 10 Yale students traveled to the National University of Singapore to study and do field work in various disciplines. The Yale Women’s Faculty Forum has also collaborated with scholars at Cambridge University to discuss the role of women in universities.

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