Kenyon President Sean Decatur today announced the selection of Heidi Hansen McCrory as vice president for college relations. McCrory has been vice president for alumnae and development at Sweet Briar College since 2009.
Decatur said McCrory stood out in a strong field of candidates in pursuit of the opportunity to lead the Kenyon division that focuses on engagement with alumni, students, parents and friends of the College. “I’m looking forward to working with Heidi as we develop plans for Kenyon’s future,” Decatur said. “Heidi brings great energy and confidence. She is well-prepared for the work ahead. Heidi understands not only the mechanics but the joy of philanthropy. And Heidi appreciates the importance of the student experience and the academic mission.”
At Kenyon, McCrory will manage a professional and support staff of forty-five, including the offices of Information Services, Alumni and Parent Programs, Annual Giving, and Public Affairs. Her opening day at Kenyon is July 1, 2014.
The search committee was chaired by David Meuse of Columbus, a member of the Kenyon College Board of Trustees. The committee represented, in addition to the trustees, the Kenyon administration, faculty, and alumni.
Meuse believes the search committee achieved its goal. “We welcome Heidi Hansen McCrory to the Kenyon community with enthusiasm,” he said. “Our search for a new vice president of college relations was thorough, comprehensive, and quite competitive. Heidi, a proven leader, will work in collaboration with President Decatur to enhance the educational experience at Kenyon and encourage support for our high-achieving students.
“We appreciate the fine work of our search firm, Isaacson, Miller; and, in particular, Jack Gorman. They delivered a strong field for our consideration.”
McCrory’s career is rich in experience in the development field. “Heidi embraces innovation, creativity, and enterprise,” Meuse said. “We’re excited about her commitment to Kenyon.”
“Kenyon is at an exciting point in its history,” McCrory said. “Kenyon is riding a bit of a wave with new leadership, strong admissions and strong finances, and there is a great opportunity to further strengthen it from a philanthropic, engagement and visibility standpoint.
“Kenyon is a terrific institution and has an outstanding reputation. Who wouldn’t jump at the chance to join Kenyon College?”
McCrory enjoys philanthropic work. “I get to be with people at some of the best moments of their lives, when they’re thinking beyond themselves, when they’re thinking about having an impact on the future. That’s an incredible privilege. There is joy in philanthropy.”
Sweet Briar, in Sweet Briar, Virginia, is a women’s liberal arts college with an enrollment of about 760. McCrory has worked there since 2000, advancing from associate vice president for development to vice president for development to her current role supervising a staff of twenty-two on a mission to enhance alumnae and parent engagement and generate gifts to the college. She was instrumental in the successful completion of Sweet Briar’s “Our Campaign for Her World” capital campaign, which topped its goal of $111 million in 2006. McCrory runs a division that raises about $10 million a year for Sweet Briar.
Sweet Briar President Jo Ellen Parker said her college has, in recent years, followed a successful pattern of strategic fund-raising initiatives rather than a comprehensive capital campaign. A 2013 initiative, for example, targeted the renovation of fifteen classrooms and was fully funded in about six months, a credit to McCrory and her team.
“Heidi is terrific,” Parker said. “She brings boundless enthusiasm and boundless optimism to the table every single day. Everybody here is disappointed, but it makes perfect sense for her to take on this new challenge.”
Cheryl Steele, dean of co-curricular life and vice president of student affairs at Sweet Briar and former associate dean of students at Kenyon, complimented McCrory’s strong fund-raising experience and abilities, adding that she is a “strategic thinker and well-connected professionally on a national level.” McCrory is, in addition, “a warm, open, collaborative professional – and person.”
McCrory worked previously as director of development at Randolph-Macon Woman’s College; director of development for academic programs at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro; director of development at New England College; director of public affairs at the National Head Injury Foundation; and in other roles in public relations, marketing, and advertising production. She earned a bachelor of fine arts in communication from Southern Methodist University and a master’s in English at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.
She has maintained a high profile in the community, including as a former chair of the board of directors of the Girl Scouts of Virginia Skyline Council. McCrory is also active in the Council for the Advancement and Study of Education, where she serves as a faculty member for the Summer Institute for Educational Fund Raising Newcomers.
She and her husband, Bill McCrory, are the parents of Kirin and Austin.
McCrory succeeds Sarah Kahrl, who remains with Kenyon as director of the Kenyon Institute. Kahrl, Meuse said, set high standards and her success with the $240 million We Are Kenyon campaign that concluded in 2011 has been well-documented.