The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania

Senior Director of Major and Planned Gifts

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Position Description

Executive Summary

The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania seeks a proactive, collaborative, and value-driven Senior Director of Major and Planned Gifts (Senior Director) to provide strategic direction, inspirational leadership and oversight for the School’s comprehensive major gifts fundraising program and alumni activities. This is an exciting opportunity for an accomplished fundraising professional to harness the energy of a high-capacity community of advancement colleagues, faculty, alumni and students in maximizing philanthropic support for one of the world’s premier business schools and most highly-recognized providers of knowledge to the global business community.

Reporting to the Senior Executive Director of Development, the Senior Director will work closely with Wharton School Dean Geoffrey Garrett, Vice Dean, other senior administrators and high-profile faculty to promote the educational, research, and financial priorities emerging from Wharton’s current strategic planning cycle. The Senior Director will play a crucial role in developing fundraising outreach strategies and gift opportunities that will capture the attention of Wharton’s key domestic donor networks in ways that align with institutional goals. S/he will lead a team of ten (including two directors of regional development, five major gifts officers, and three support staff) to secure leadership and transformational gifts. Collaborating with central university advancement liaisons in Planned Giving, the Senior Director will chart a renewed strategy for Wharton’s planned and estate giving prospects. S/he will also be expected to personally cultivate and steward a select, highly-rated portfolio of individual donors and prospects.

Serving as a true citizen of The Wharton School community, the Senior Director will identify shared opportunities for dual asks, donor cultivation and engagement in concert with other Directors of Wharton development (The Wharton Fund, Corporate & Foundation Relations, International Giving, and Principal Giving) and External Affairs (Operations, Stewardship & Communication, and Alumni Affairs) to further realize value and potential across Wharton’s diverse community of alumni and friends.

The ideal candidate is expected to have at least seven to ten years of experience with a proven record of cultivating, stewarding, and soliciting six-, seven-figure gifts and developing successful programs in major gift operations. Previous experience working in a complex organization, preferably higher education, is highly desired, as is the maturity and acumen to successfully navigate and collaborate within such environments. The successful candidate will have managed a staff and worked with volunteer-based support. Outstanding organizational and interpersonal skills are necessary, with a philosophy of teamwork, initiative, and curiosity. Excellent verbal and written communication skills are required and the ability to interact with all types of individuals is essential. The Director must have a strong, metrics-driven approach to his/her work; an ability to work independently and set targets and goals for the Major Giving team based on School priorities and as directed by development leadership. S/he should also have the charisma, cultural sensitivity, and communication skills necessary to be an effective representative of the University of Pennsylvania and the Wharton School.

A bachelor’s degree and demonstrated success in complex, dynamic organizations is required. An advanced degree is preferred.

The Wharton School
In 1881, American entrepreneur and industrialist Joseph Wharton established the world’s first collegiate school of business at the University of Pennsylvania. Wharton’s pioneering vision was to produce graduates who would become “pillars of the state, whether in private or in public life.” The Wharton School maintains a long tradition of educating visionary business leaders in academia, business, government, and not-for-profit organizations. Today, Wharton has expanded the scope of this vision to become the most comprehensive source of business knowledge in the world, with over 225 faculty members, 95,000 alumni, 5,000 students across 10 academic departments, 20 research centers, and more than 9,000 executive education participants annually. In 2017, The Wharton School was ranked the top graduate business school in the country by US News & World Report and third globally by the Financial Times.

Led by Dean Geoffrey Garrett, an internationally-renowned academic, and his vision of doing well by doing good, The Wharton School in recent years has built upon its reputation and acumen in business and finance education and has invested in new, emerging areas critical to the global business and policy landscapes. Moving forward, priorities such as entrepreneurship, business analytics (and the decisions made therefrom), and alternative investments (the roles of private equity, hedge funds, venture capital, etc.) will be growth areas of support and scholarship.
Position Description

Application Form

Search Team

Tracy Welsh  

Adele Mezher