Reichenbach leaves $3.88 billion legacy

When Inge Reichenbach retires at the end of June, she will leave behind a $3.8 billion legacy at the University.

Reichenbach was appointed Vice President for Development in 2005 to lead the Yale Tomorrow fundraising campaign, then still in the “silent” planning phases of a $3 billion drive for donations. Six years and $3.8 billion raised later, University President Richard Levin said that Reichenbach’s most notable achievements were her work on the campaign and her ability to develop leadership within the Office of Development. Outside of Yale, donors said that Reichenbach’s professionalism and caring personality were instrumental as she secured donations to Yale.

Yale University

“Inge Reichenbach is not only one of the most talented people I have ever known in the development field — the legacy of $3.88 [billion] says it all — but she is also one of the finest people I have ever had the pleasure of working with,” said Yale Corporation Senior Fellow Edward Bass ’67, who also served as a co-chair for the campaign.

The campaign broke University records as brought in donations across its four goals of Yale College, the arts, the sciences and international efforts. During its five-year public phase, it netted several gifts of at least $50 million, including $100 million to eliminate tuition at the School of Music, $50 million toward a new campus for the School of Management and $50 million to establish 10 endowed professorships at the School of Engineering and Applied Science.

Roland Betts ’68, Yale Tomorrow co-chair and Yale Corporation senior fellow emeritus, said when the Corporation was looking for someone to lead Yale Tomorrow, Reichenbach was a clear choice. Before coming to Yale, Reichenbach had also set records as vice president of alumni affairs and development at Cornell University from 1995–’05.

“Her name was at the top of everybody’s list,” Betts said. “[When she came to Yale] we felt from the beginning that we had the best person in the country, and I would say that over the course of the campaign she proved that.”

Levin attributed Reichenbach’s success in surpassing the campaign’s $3.5 billion goal to her ability to develop connections with donors. She secured a $50 million donation from Susan and John Jackson ’67 to found the Jackson Institute for Global Affairs. John Jackson praised Reichenbach’s “engaging, warm, friendly and caring personality,” adding that she was always genuinely committed to Yale.

In a Wednesday interview with the News, Reichenbach said philanthropy is “not a business interaction.” Instead, the donor must be motivated to make a gift, she said. To motivate donors, she said she tried to show how a gift would help the Yale community. She added that students often garnered the most excitement in potential donors by talking passionately about their experiences at Yale. Documents that promoted Yale Tomorrow projects frequently included quotes from undergraduates.

The campaign originally planned to raise $3 billion, but when the corporation approved the addition of two new residential colleges in 2008, the board also approved an $500 million increase in the goal for the fundraising drive.

Betts called Reichenbach “an absolute consummate professional” and added that her leadership was directly responsible for Yale Tomorrow overcoming the nationwide economic recession to exceed the increased goal.

“When 2008 came along and everything collapsed, getting gifts of any size became much more difficult,” Betts said. “We knew we could reach $3 billion, but we were unsure about $3.5. That’s where her professionalism came in. The last year of the campaign was the biggest year the university ever had, and I think a lot of the credit goes to her.”

All five faculty members and administrators interviewed said they admired and respected Reichenbach for her work with the campaign. Robert Alpern, dean of the School of Medicine, said he appreciated that Reichenbach raised funds for all of Yale’s schools, creating a sense that development staff across the campus were “all on the same team.”

“I have worked with the development office for a long time and found it to be much improved under her leadership,” said Ian Shapiro political science professor and director of the Macmillan Center for International and Area Studies, which houses the Jackson Institute. “She rationalized and modernized its operations, was well-liked and respected, and will be a tough act to follow.”

Levin said that he will launch a nationwide search to find Reichenbach’s replacement by June 30, 2012, when she officially leaves.


  • Branford73

    With such a rosy financial picture, one would think Yale could afford to retain plates with individual residential college insignia.

    • bt

      I think the abolition of individual residential college dining hall plates shows that the university is getting some priorities right. Make more money go into research funds, faculty hiring, and scholarships. Don’t get me wrong: we have to make sure to keep the Yale experience. But we also have to keep in mind that this place is a UNIVERSITY. And this indicates where the priorities for adjusting the budget should lie!

      • Branford73

        By that reasoning the heavy wood furniture in the dining halls should be replaced by plastic chairs and formica topped tables. I’m sure they are cheaper to replace and maintain. Also, why have so much duplication of administration in 12, soon to be 14, college masters and deans. The whole residential college system is inefficient, so why have it? Because it’s one of the things that makes the undergraduate experience special.

        • bt

          This response is uncharitable. My reasoning included: “Don’t get me wrong: we have to make sure to keep the Yale experience.” I included that precisely because I think the residential college system is something that does make the Yale experience special. Individualized dining hall plates are *nice*, but they don’t seem crucial to me.
          Do I have a definite criterion for drawing the line? No. For now, I think we have to exercise judgment to figure out how to best allocate the UNIVERSITY’s scarce resources.

        • yalie13

          I couldn’t agree more. Our old residential college plates were just freaking awesome and really enhanced the chemistry between students and their college.

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  • joey00

    I’m surprised the union hasn’t commented on this. Maybe not yet..It’s a tough swallow especially with The Copper Kitchen,Yankee Doodle,Clarks,every supplier and procurement listee is terminated for no stated reason, Affordable rents,Vicious nickel and diming over rents that are in tax free structures,or surrounded by hundreds of tax free buildings..

  • Yaleman

    Inge Reichenbach is absolutely the best of the best! We have been fortunate to have known her and relied on her. A paragon. Thanks, Inge

  • claypoint2

    I agree with Yaleman; I consider it a privilege to have known Inge Reichenbach. My deep thanks to her for all that she’s done for Yale during her tenure.

  • alum2001

    Go Inge. Yale was very lucky to have her. She’s a lovely woman as well. I’m glad this article was written, because the student body should know who she is, and have a great appreciation for her.