Location: London, Ontario Employment Type: fulltime Level: management

Salary Range: In a range near $300,000


Reporting to the President & Vice-Chancellor, the Vice-President of University Advancement is responsible for overseeing the planning, design, implementation, assessment, and administration of the University’s fund development and alumni relations activities and contributing to an overall mission to enhance Western’s reputation as both an international academic leader and a good citizen in local, provincial, national and international constituencies.

This is an exciting time to join and lead the University Advancement team as we embrace the bold ambitions outlined in our new strategic plan (Towards Western at 150) and leverage our next major fundraising campaign to support our teaching, research, and public service activities. Through our collective accomplishments to date, we have demonstrated that our university community understands and values philanthropy. The commitment of our alumni, donors and the broader Western community has proved powerful, and the goal of our new campaign is to increase the impact of our academic activities across campus, across Canada, and around the world while providing students and alumni with an exceptional experience. We look forward to welcoming a new colleague and executive leader who will help us build on our past success as we move boldly toward Western’s 150th anniversary in 2028.

As a member of the University’s senior leadership team, the Vice-President (University Advancement) will lead three functional areas: Development, Alumni Relations, and Advancement Operations. Working with both centralized and decentralized teams, the Vice-President will ensure these teams work effectively with Faculties, Schools, Departments and Administrative Divisions across campus to strengthen Western’s reputation for excellence in teaching, research, and scholarship; support the best student experience; generate resources in support of institutional priorities; and deepen alumni engagement and their vital contributions to Western’s impact on the world.

A respected executive, known for their strategic and innovative approach and superb relationship management skills, the Vice-President will be a high-integrity leader with a history of building collaborative, agile, and responsive team cultures that are empowering and supportive of equity, diversity, and inclusion.

The successful candidate’s fundraising experience will include direct involvement in securing transformative gifts and extensive knowledge about all aspects of the donor cycle and across all giving vehicles (annual, major gifts, planned giving, etc). The new incumbent will build strong relationships and partnerships with internal and external stakeholders and will be skilled at communicating with diverse individuals and groups of varying sizes and sophistication.

Our new Vice-President will understand the important role of data and predictive modeling in advancement and will support Western’s comprehensive research and data management operations.

Demonstrating an appreciation of academic culture and the ability to collaborate effectively and respectfully with scholars, artists, scientists, researchers, and staff, the new incumbent will have a deep commitment to ensuring philanthropy contributes to Western’s teaching and research mission—including an outstanding experience for its students.

Western offers a progressive compensation and benefits package for this role, including extended health benefits and pension contributions. Contingent on demonstrated experience, qualifications, and competencies, the hiring salary for this role is in a range near $300,000 with an annual incentive bonus.

The Vice-President, University Advancement will be a role model for collegial interactions across campus, and, as a resident living in the London area, will be an active member of the wider community. The University will be pleased to support the relocation of a successful candidate to London for this role. Regular domestic and periodic international travel will be required for this position.


Ranked among the top 1% of higher education institutions worldwide, Western is Canada’s third-largest research-intensive university and is a founding member of the U15 group of Canada’s most distinguished research universities. Western is recognized for its world-class expertise in a number of areas ranging from cognitive neuroscience, imaging, and musculoskeletal health, to child & youth development, wind engineering & natural disaster mitigation, planetary science & exploration, and the philosophy of science, among others.

A vibrant centre of learning with over 42,000 students from 128 countries, we offer more than 400 combinations of undergraduate majors, minors and specializations offered through 12 Faculties and Schools, and three affiliated university colleges. This includes 88 different graduate degree programs, many of which are interdisciplinary, offered through the School of Graduate & Postdoctoral Studies, as well as professional programs in Medicine, Dentistry, Business, Law and Engineering. Combining academic excellence with life-long opportunities for intellectual, social, and cultural growth, Western has been preparing future leaders for careers of impact in their communities and globally since its founding in 1878.

As one of the region’s largest employers, Western has more than 11,000 full and part-time staff and faculty.

One of the oldest and most beautiful universities in Canada, Western is located on over 480 hectares (1,120 acres) along the banks of the Thames River in London, Ontario, providing a unique community feeling. The main campus offers nine student residences, housing either first-year students or upper-year students, plus three on-campus apartments strictly for upper-year and graduate students.

Celebrated as “Purple and Proud,” Western’s loyal and committed alumni represent a growing global network of over 355,000 graduates residing across Ontario, Canada, and some 160 countries worldwide.

Towards Western at 150 – Western University’s Strategic Plan

Western has an impressive track record of success – achievements we take pride in and that have paved a road towards an even brighter, bolder future. By never settling for the status quo, Western seeks to maximize its potential as an academic community and increase the impact of its research, teaching, and community engagement. The University’s Strategic Plan, Towards Western at 150, outlines a bold, inclusive vision for the future, outlining our priorities and aspirations while serving as the cornerstone of our public accountability.

As we look towards our 150th anniversary in 2028, we are energized and ready for greater impact. We will educate, support, and encourage leaders who think and act boldly in response to the grand challenges of our time – to serve the public good.  As we chart an ambitious path for the next 150 years, we will build a university more energized, more influential, and more inclusive than ever before.

Approved in June of 2021, the plan’s development engaged a wide range of students, faculty, staff, alumni, members of the Senate and the Board of Governors, and members of the public. The plan is organized under three overarching themes:

Theme 1 – Greater Impact

  • Grow strategically
  • Stimulate our research, scholarship, and creative activity
  • Promote teaching and learning for the future
  • Enrich the student experience

Theme 2 – People, Community and Culture

  • Advance reconciliation with Indigenous communities
  • Create a more equitable and inclusive Western
  • Thrive through belonging

Theme 3 – Western’s Place in The World

  • Concentrate on place
  • Engage the world
  • Sustainability, an imperative


The University Advancement division plays a leading role in strengthening awareness of, and support for the University’s mission and goals by leading alumni relations and fundraising efforts across campus and beyond. All departments within the Division build enduring alumni and public trust through understanding and support for Western University in a coordinated campus-wide effort that results in the engagement and funding needed to make an impact.

The University Advancement team consists of over 125 professionals and support staff across three departments within the Division – Development, Alumni Relations, and Advancement Operations.

 The Development team strengthens philanthropic support for the University by cultivating meaningful relationships with alumni, students, parents, faculty, staff, corporations and foundations interested in advancing our academic mission. Development is comprised of sub-units focused on Annual, Leadership & Legacy Giving; Faculties & Divisions; Principal Gifts; and Donor Experience.

 The Alumni Relations team fosters alumni engagement through strategies and programs that build long-term relationships, philanthropic support, and volunteer commitment for the University. Western Alumni are offered a variety of in-person and virtual Lifelong Learning programs, a global travel program, shared interest and affinity groups, Ambassadors program, career and life management programs, regional events and activities, Alumni awards, and a wide array of Purple Perks.

The Advancement Operations team provides expertise in areas related to constituent database and technology services, prospect management, research and pipeline, data analytics and storytelling, gift and pledge management, records and document management, and financial reconciliation and reporting. Advancement Operations also supports the annual planning process as well as budget management, human resources, and facilities support for University Advancement.


 University Advancement is actively engaged in the early stages of the most ambitious fundraising and alumni engagement campaign in its history, a key priority outlined in Towards Western at 150: Western University Strategic Plan.

 Since the successful conclusion of Western’s last comprehensive campaign, Be Extraordinary, in the fall of 2018, which raised more than $805 million, work in the planning phase of a new institutional campaign has been underway. Working closely with the President and other senior university leaders as well as senior volunteers and other key stakeholders, our new Vice-President will be instrumental in helping us launch our major campaign, elevate fundraising performance, grow Alumni and Development programming, and increase volunteer and alumni engagement.


 Strategic Leadership

As a member of the University’s Executive Leadership team, the Vice-President will:

 Lead the development and implementation of a strategic and comprehensive University Advancement plan aligned with the University’s mission and strategic plans in close consultation with the President and other senior academic and administrative leaders.

  • Develop an in-depth knowledge of University/Faculty/School activities, priorities and needs, and play a lead role in identifying and refining compelling gift opportunities to connect donor and volunteer interest with University priorities.
  • Set and achieve ambitious institutional fundraising goals (annual and multi-year campaigns) that advance the University’s top strategic priorities.
  • Develop short- and long-term operational plans to maximize donor engagement and achieve fundraising targets for all University stakeholder groups.
  • Drive, track and report on progress against key goals and objectives established for the University Advancement portfolio.
  • Advise the President and other senior leaders on all matters related to fundraising plans, policy and priorities, and work in partnership to support and advance institutional priorities.
  • Manage the human and financial resources of the University Advancement portfolio, including accountability for the budget and ensuring that programs are appropriately resourced to meet goals.
  • Deliver timely and appropriate stewardship plans, ensuring gifts are handled and recognized according to sound Advancement practices.
  • Maintain networks with other professionals in the post-secondary sector and the broader advancement community to maintain knowledge of competitive strategies and to benchmark Western’s advancement practices and performance.
  • Serve as an ex-officio member of the University Senate.
  • Provide accurate, timely and comprehensive information and guidance on all pertinent matters within their jurisdiction to the President, the Senate, the Board of Governors and their associated committees.
  • Contribute to the overall effectiveness of the University through contact with and/or participation in various external institutions, corporations, organizations and other pertinent bodies in order to develop, maintain and enhance their financial support of the University.

Development, Alumni Relations, and Advancement Operations

  •  Plan and lead the University into its next major fundraising campaign.
  • Promote a culture within and beyond campus that values, encourages and celebrates philanthropy as a vital means to advancing Western’s teaching, research and public service mission.
  • Leverage philanthropic activities that increase Western’s public profile as well as revenue.
  • Build strong, collaborative relationships with Western’s most high-profile and influential donors and volunteers with the goal of growing philanthropic support for the University.
  • Identify, engage, recruit, and support the success of senior-level volunteers.
  • Design and implement an effective volunteer structure for the next comprehensive campaign.
  • Ensure a strategic, coordinated, and best practice approach to donor identification, cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship activities, ensuring appropriate accountability metrics and measures, tools, and technologies for all aspects of development, alumni relations and advancement operations.
  • Ensure effective engagement with Western’s Alumni Association.
  • Advise on and oversee the design and implementation of effective alumni engagement programs, both centrally and at the Faculty/School level.
  • Foster collaborative, productive relationships with University Communications and other key administrative units across campus.

Team & People Leadership

  •  Lead a high-performing team of approximately 125 development, alumni relations, and advancement operations professionals through a coordinated centralized/decentralized model.
  • Foster a culture supportive of and conducive to philanthropy across the University community.
  • Coach, encourage and support team members in achieving their professional goals.
  • Manage individual and team performance by establishing performance standards; reviewing, monitoring, and evaluating performance; and conducting formal talent and performance reviews with direct reports on an ongoing basis.
  • Establish a Toronto fundraising office to add focus to donor and alumni engagement activities in the Greater Toronto Area.


  • Substantial and progressive senior-level leadership experience within a large, complex, multi-stakeholder environment.
  • Demonstrated leadership and performance success in revenue generation and with major institutional fundraising campaigns, including building superb relationships with and securing principal and transformational gifts from individuals, corporations, and foundations.
  • Proven experience operating at senior levels of a public institution.
  • Ability to coordinate, manage, leverage, and integrate the efforts of diverse teams in a large, decentralized institution.
  • Superb communication and story telling abilities, particularly in relation to the University’s case for support.
  • Extensive team leadership and team building experience with proven success in motivating and empowering staff to achieve goals, developing and retaining talent as well as creating a positive work environment.
  • Experience with alumni or other stakeholder engagement activities and programs is required.
  • Demonstrated practices and results that recognize and promote equity, diversity, and inclusion.
  • A sophisticated understanding of the importance of the university and the role and responsibility of a modern university in society, and how to articulate those into funding opportunities.
  • Strong strategic skills with demonstrated experience in integrating vision, strategy, tactics, and activities to move from strategy through to execution and to move issues forward.
  • Demonstrated knowledge and experience in overseeing comprehensive research and data management operations to effectively support Advancement.
  • Strong financial management skills, including knowledge of investment policies, CRA requirements, and fiduciary matters.
  • Successful completion of a university degree.



KCI (Ketchum Canada Inc.) has been retained to conduct this executive search on behalf of Western University. For more information about this opportunity, please contact Sylvie Battisti, Vice President, Search + Talent or Ellie Rusonik Vice-President, Search + Talent at WesternVPUA@kcitalent.com.

All inquiries and applications will be held in strict confidence. To apply, please send a resume and letter of interest, to the email address above, and note that the deadline for submission is January 29, 2024.

To view the full Executive Brief, please visit:  www.kcitalent.com.

The University invites applications from all qualified individuals. Western is committed to employment equity and diversity in the workplace and welcomes applications from women, members of racialized groups/visible minorities, Indigenous persons, persons with disabilities, persons of any sexual orientation, and persons of any gender identity or gender expression.

This position is open to all Canadian citizens, permanent residents and those legally able to work in Canada.

We are grateful to live, work and play on these lands. Western University is located on the traditional lands of the Anishinaabek, Haudenosaunee, Lūnaapéewak and Chonnonton peoples, on lands connected with the London Township and Sombra Treaties of 1796 and the Dish with One Spoon Covenant Wampum. This land continues to be home to diverse Indigenous Peoples (First Nations, Métis and Inuit) whom we recognize as contemporary stewards of the land and vital contributors to our society.

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Vice President (University Advancement) – Western University

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