Friday September 1, 2006

A Catalyst

As vice president for advancement, Fran Evans raised millions of dollars. More importantly, she helped raise UD's national image. She's stepping down in 2007, but continuing as special assistant to the president.

Fran Evans, who helped to create a stronger national image for the University of Dayton, more than triple annual philanthropic support and offer more innovative alumni programming in her 13-year tenure as vice president for advancement at the University of Dayton, will step down by June 2007.

UD is launching a national search for her replacement. In a part-time role, Evans will serve as special assistant to the president, focusing on strategic planning and fund raising.

The catalyst behind the University of Dayton's record-breaking $158 million image- and fund-raising campaign that ended in 2002, Evans more than tripled giving on an annual basis from $8.8 million in 1993 to $28.8 million in gifts and pledges today. UD ranks fourth among national Catholic universities, behind the University of Notre Dame, Georgetown University and Boston College, in its alumni participation rate.

"She professionalized the advancement division at the University of Dayton," said Daniel J. Curran, president. "She's an extraordinary fundraiser, who was instrumental in the success of the Call to Lead campaign and has laid the groundwork for an even more ambitious effort. I'm very happy that she's agreed to stay on as an adviser. She will continue to provide strategic counsel and engage alumni and friends in supporting the vision of UD."

In all, UD raised more than $240 million during Evans' tenure. She worked closely with staff to start or augment programs that helped to involve more alumni in the life and mission of the University, develop a national giving program and attract national media attention. During her tenure, the number of alumni chapter cities across the nation grew greatly from 19 to 33. Christmas off Campus, a spin-off of the highly popular Christmas on Campus celebration that includes both community service and a spiritual component, expanded from an annual event in St. Louis to a tradition in nearly every alumni chapter. As a member of UD's presidential search committee, she also helped recruit Curran, the first lay president in UD's history.

Evans also helped improve the campus climate for women and proposed a mentorship program for women from all levels of the University. When she joined UD, she was the only female vice president. Today, the administrative ranks include two female vice presidents and four deans.

In 2001, Evans was named one of the Dayton Daily News' Ten Top Women. In 1997, she was named fundraiser of the year by the Miami Valley chapter of the National Society of Fund Raising Executives. Since 1993, UD's advancement division staff won nearly two dozen national awards for publications, national media relations, e-marketing, special events and alumni programming from CASE (Council for the Advancement and Support of Education).

The New Orleans native is looking forward to a short sabbatical before returning to campus in a new role.

"What will I do? My preference would be to teach yoga, but that's just a metaphor for doing something completely different," Evans told the advancement division staff this summer. "I love UD and can't imagine doing this anywhere else. This new role will give me an opportunity to do what I like at a place I love. We're extremely well positioned. We've built the infrastructure and our capacity to be as excellent as we can be. We'll find someone who can lead a very strong ship."