Villanova University

Director of Major Giving, New York

To Apply

Villanova University has retained the services of Harris Rand Lusk to conduct this search.  Inquiries, nominations and applications may be directed in confidence to:

Debbie Farrell, Senior Director of Leadership and Development
Harris Rand Lusk
122 East 42nd Street, Suite 3605
New York, NY  10168


Please put “Villanova University” in the subject line of your emailed application.

Founded in 1842, Villanova University is a Catholic university sponsored by the Augustinian order. This Augustinian Catholic intellectual tradition is the cornerstone of an academic community at which students learn to think critically, act compassionately and succeed while serving others. Villanova has produced a number of distinguished leaders and graduates of the University go on to create positive change throughout the world. This philosophy and goal to produce ethical leaders has been embraced and is the basis of their new ten-year strategic plan Rooted. Restless. – rooted in their Augustinian Catholic values and restless in their desire to ignite change.

The strategic plan will build upon the qualities of Villanova’s community – the faculty, students, staff, alumni, parents and friends – that helps students grow intellectually, professionally and spiritually, and challenges them to reach their full potential. The plan focuses on enhancing dialogue across varied groups and promoting diversity, equity and inclusion efforts.  Although currently over 80% of first year students eligible for need-based assistance receive Villanova Grants, the University hopes that by 2030 this number is 100%.

With a vision to propel the University forward to a new level of success – “to become what they are not yet” – Villanova will be restless and invest in critical areas of opportunity. These initiatives include growth in research infrastructure and student engagement with faculty, exploring and applying new teaching methods and tools, and funding Centers of Excellence.

Ranked among the top 50 of the nation’s best colleges and universities by U.S. News & World Report, Villanova University is located on a 260-acre campus, 12 miles west of Philadelphia, PA. It is home to 6,500 undergraduate and 4,500 graduate and law students in the University’s six colleges (Liberal Arts and Sciences, Business, Engineering, Nursing, Professional Studies, and Law school).  The University’s rigorous academic experience, rooted in the liberal arts, forms an environment in which students and professors are partners in learning. A 12:1 student to faculty ratio supports the Villanova community’s dedication to providing a personalized experience that fosters every student’s intellectual and spiritual well-being.

The Position
Villanova’s regional advancement offices are key to engaging alumni in different parts of the country. Led by the Executive Director for Regional Development, a NYC-based advancement office houses a staff of five including the Director of Major Giving, New York. Working in collaboration with the entire advancement team (regional and on-campus) the Director of Major Giving, New York will develop, implement and maintain a fundraising initiative for the region with emphasis on New York City.

Principal Responsibilities
To achieve the aims described above, the Director is responsible for carrying out the following duties and responsibilities:

  • Implement, and evaluate a major gifts plan for the NYC region, establishing priorities, activity and revenue goals, and developing relationships and programs to maximize revenue from Alumni, parents and friends of the University
  • Successfully manage and maintain a major gift portfolio of prospects actively bringing them toward major gift closure
  • As a key member of the university’s development team, steward existing supporters and build new key relationships to support the university at the $100,000 level and above
  • Conduct 10-12 prospect visits per month
  • Work closely with members of the central development staff to develop a comprehensive giving program for the University in the region
  • Host the President, the Provost, Deans, Senior Vice President for University Advancement, academics leaders, and other high-profile individuals in order to ensure positive internal and external public interactions and relationships
  • Support the University in New York by staffing academic leaders, providing briefing materials/strategy assessment, and by organizing donor cultivation activities
  • Coordinates the management and strategy of regional gift prospects through the central prospect management system, collaborating with School-based colleagues where appropriate
  • Manage the day-to-day work of a 3-person development team


  • Bachelor’s degree; advanced degree preferred
  • 7-10 years experience in fundraising, with at least 5 years in major gifts
  • Proven experience and success in individual as well as corporate and foundation funding desired
  • Understanding of the University culture and the process for decision making and program development
  • Strong interpersonal skills and proven ability to form strategic relationships both internally and externally
  • Superb communication and listening skills; creative and well-developed writing skills; articulate and persuasive verbal communicator
  • Comfort level working in a team-oriented environment, but also must be disciplined and results-oriented
  • Ability to communicate and collaborate with colleagues while working in an off-campus location; someone who can connect the dots and make things happen
  • Intellectual curiosity and appreciation of process improvement and its related metrics
  • Flexible with ability to multitask as well as anticipate and solve problems as they arise; timely follow-through with tasks is critical
  • Superior organizational skills with proven ability to focus, prioritize and implement
  • Commitment to Villanova’s mission of community and service to others
  • Commitment to higher education
  • Ability and willingness to travel
122 East 42nd Street, Suite 3605, New York, NY 10168