Emerson College President Lee Pelton has announced that Dr. Ronald Korvas has accepted his offer to serve as Vice President for Development and Alumni Relations, effective June 1, 2016. When Korvas assumes his role as Vice President, the office will be renamed Institutional Advancement in an anticipation of the broader scope of work involved in developing and launching the College’s inaugural comprehensive fund-raising campaign.
Korvas brings to Emerson more than three decades of experience in higher education advancement, including orchestrating the largest fundraising effort in Willamette University’s history, raising $131 million: the most money raised by a private university or college in the Pacific Northwest at that time.
“I had the pleasure of working with Ron on Willamette’s campaign and know firsthand that he will be a true partner to everyone in our community and a superb matchmaker in aligning the philanthropic interests of our donors with the institutional priorities of Emerson,” Pelton wrote in a message to the Emerson community. “Ron led Willamette’s alumni affairs and development operation for 11 of my 13 years as president of that university and I am delighted that he has agreed to lead Emerson’s fundraising program going forward,” Pelton continued.
“Emerson College’s exciting, dynamic, and inspired strategic plan provides a strong platform for us to build a culture of philanthropic support,” said Korvas. “I am eager to engage with the College’s alumni, parents, faculty, and staff as we work together to advance Emerson’s future.”
Currently, Korvas serves as the Vice President for Institutional Advancement at Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida, a position he has held since 2011. In his five years at Rollins, he helped plan, organize, and launch The Campaign for Rollins, a $150 million fund-raising effort for scholarships, academic excellence, student success and co-curricular activities, facilities, and annual giving.
Just four years into the campaign, Rollins anticipates that by the end of this academic year, it will have already raised $93 million toward the $150 million goal. Thanks to the best practices, leadership, and vision that Korvas brought to the College, Rollins won the 2015 Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) Fundraising Award. Rollins also received CASE’s Overall Performance Award based on three years of fundraising data.
Previously, Korvas was Vice President for University Advancement at Minnesota State University-Mankato from 1994 to 2000, and before then, was Vice President of the Washington State University Foundation, where he helped plan and implement a $250 million campaign.
Korvas holds a Ph.D. in Higher Education Administration from University of Missouri-Kansas City; an M.Ed. in Guidance and Counseling and a B.S. in Human Relations from the University of Toledo. He also attended the Institute for Educational Management at Harvard University.
As Emerson’s Vice President for Institutional Advancement, Korvas will lead a team that is engaged in all aspects of fundraising, including major gifts, planned giving, corporate and foundation giving, parent leadership giving, annual giving, stewardship, development communications, and events. In addition, he will oversee alumni relations.
In each of the last three years, the Emerson community has set new records for the College in philanthropic support. In FY15, the College raised $9.1 million, an amount that more than doubles the average annual gift and pledge totals prior to the year 2011. Three gifts of $2.5 million, $1.5 million and $1 million represented almost 60 percent of last year’s fund-raising total. Emerson anticipates another strong year-end for FY16.
Korvas is charged with capitalizing on this momentum in ways that will generate and sustain higher levels of philanthropic support for the College.
In his message to the Emerson community, Pelton expressed his gratitude to Keira McClain and to Beth Garvin for their willingness to serve as Interim Vice Presidents for Development and Alumni Relations during this period of transition, as well as to the entire development and alumni relations staff for their hard work and perseverance.
Pelton also thanked the search committee, which, in addition to himself, included the following alumni leaders, faculty, students, and staff: Marillyn Zacharis (Trustee); Mike MacWade (Trustee); Michele Perkins (Trustee); Marc Reinganum (Trustee); Michaele Whelan (Chief Academic Officer); Kevin Bright ( Vice President & Founding Director, Emerson Los Angeles); Eric Gordon (Associate Professor and Director of the Engagement Lab); David Howse (Managing Director, ArtsEmerson); Patricia Nicol (Athletics Director); Arianna Conte ’18 (Political Communication major); Jeff Greenhawt (Board of Trustees,chair); and Anne Shaughnessy (Director, Office of the President and Executive Assistant, Board of Trustees).