Thomas J. Farrell named President/CEO of University of Illinois Foundation

Oct 10, 2012 10:03 AM

Thomas J. FarrellThe University of Illinois Foundation has selected Thomas J. Farrell, a fundraising executive who has worked at several top private universities, as its new president and CEO, according to Jane P. Donaldson, Chair of the UIF Board.

Farrell, 50, the former vice president for alumni relations and development at the University of Chicago, will assume the role as UIF’s chief administrator effective January 1, 2013. Farrell succeeds Sidney S. Micek, who will continue to serve as president and CEO through December 2012.

“Tom Farrell brings extensive experience, energy and commitment to higher education to the work of the University of Illinois Foundation,” states Donaldson. “He understands the critical importance of raising the necessary private funds for the University over the next decade to ensure its continued excellence and growth. We all look forward to his arrival and are delighted to have him with us.”

“I am thrilled to be joining the University of Illinois community,” says Farrell. “The University is one of the nation’s great teaching and research institutions—with a highly distinguished faculty; top students from the state, nation and around the world; and three impressive and well-balanced campuses. Having the opportunity to work closely with President Robert Easter, the Foundation Board, the Chancellors, deans, faculty, the Alumni Association, staff and others to find ways to better connect the work of the University with its extraordinary alumni and friends is highly compelling to me.

“I am extremely impressed by the University’s public mission, and how well positioned it is to help our state and country actively, and effectively, address some of our nation’s most pressing challenges. Greater levels of philanthropy and stronger engagement with our community will be key elements in securing our future success. I want to be a part of making that happen.”

Farrell will work closely with the president of the University of Illinois, the Chancellors of the three campuses, the University of Illinois Alumni Association, and other University officials to develop fundraising and engagement strategies.

“I applaud the selection of Thomas Farrell as the new President of the University of Illinois Foundation and congratulate the Foundation’s Board of Directors on his appointment,” states Robert Easter, president of the University of Illinois. “Tom’s two decades of experience and accomplishments in fundraising for top-tier universities demonstrate a strategic approach and organizational skill set that will continue to advance our development efforts. The partnership between the University of Illinois and the Foundation is more important than ever as private giving plays an increasingly critical role in providing the resources required to ensure excellence. I look forward to working with Tom, the entire Foundation staff, and the UIF Board as we strive to strengthen the University of Illinois’ position as one of the best in the world.”

Farrell, whose parents were both educators, holds two degrees from the University of Rochester—a bachelor’s degree in history and political science and a master’s degree in education—as well as a doctorate in higher education management from the University of Pennsylvania. His dissertation is based on a case study of Harvard University's record-setting fundraising campaign from 1994 to 1999.

He began his career in higher education advancement at the University of Rochester in 1990, rising to director of the reunion major gifts program before moving on in 1995 to the University of Buffalo School of Law, where he served as director of development and then senior director of development. From 1998 to 2001, Farrell was the director of gift planning at Dartmouth College where he was part of Dartmouth’s $1.3 billion campaign.

In 2001, he joined the advancement staff at University of Pennsylvania as assistant vice president for individual gifts. He was associate vice president for undergraduate and individual giving until 2010. While at the University of Pennsylvania, Farrell was part of the planning team for Penn’s current $3.5 billion campaign.

In 2010, Farrell was named by the University of Chicago as vice president for alumni relations and development. In that capacity, he was responsible for all alumni relations and development programs, leading a staff of 450. In his two years at Chicago, fundraising jumped by 42 percent in fiscal year 2011 to $305 million and in fiscal year 2012 fundraising totaled $310 million.

Micek, who has led the UI Foundation since 2000, will remain with the organization part time, leading special initiatives.

The University of Illinois Foundation, which was established 77 years ago, is dedicated to securing and administering private gifts for the University of Illinois and its three campuses. Since its inception in 1935, UIF has been instrumental in securing and administering more than $5 billion in gifts for the University.

Click here to download a high resolution image of Thomas J. Farrell.

For additional Information, contact:

Don Kojich
Vice President for Marketing and Communications
University of Illinois Foundation