A veteran fundraiser and accomplished executive is set to join Heidelberg University’s senior leadership team. Ohio native Connie L. Harris will become the new vice president for Institutional Advancement and University Relations next month.
“Connie brings a visionary approach and extensive knowledge and experience in campaign management and alumni relations to Heidelberg,” said President Robert H. Huntington. “She has a great deal of experience and expertise working within higher education and as a volunteer with non-profit organizations.
“We look forward to her leadership in advancing the level of excellence in Institutional Advancement and University Relations specifically and the university overall,” Huntington said.
In her new role, Harris will be responsible for executive leadership, coordination and development in support of all philanthropic activities, including Heidelberg’s ongoing $75 million Academic Comprehensive Campaign for Excellence (ACCE). She also will oversee all marketing and external relations as well as internal and external communications. She will lead a team comprised of development, alumni relations, and marketing and creative services, and will serve on the president’s Senior Leadership Team.
For her part, Harris, who currently lives in Eaton, Ohio, looks forward to joining the Heidelberg and Tiffin communities. “I’m very excited and also grateful for this opportunity to serve Heidelberg,” Harris said.
The concept of community extends beyond Heidelberg, she said. “I have been very impressed and felt at home since my first visit to Tiffin and to Heidelberg. I sensed a strong match in personal values,” she said. “I see Heidelberg as an intentional learning community where the focus is on teaching, learning and student engagement.”
Harris said that during the interview process, she was impressed by the feel of the community and its rich history. “It feels like a good place for me,” she said. “I am very much looking forward to adding value to the strong partnership between the university and the community.”
She added that she was awed by the beauty of Heidelberg’s campus and inspired by the vitality of the students and a caring and committed faculty, staff and administrators. Additionally, Harris is looking forward to working with volunteers, including the Board of Trustees and the Alumni Council. These relationships, she said, will help her understand the loyalty many alumni have for the university.
At Heidelberg, Harris will inherit leadership of the Academic Comprehensive Campaign for Excellence. “I’m excited about my role in advancing ACCE. By strengthening Heidelberg’s philanthropic culture, we all will move the university toward its place as a destination point for student engagement and academic excellence,” she said. Information about ACCE is available by calling the Institutional Advancement Office at 419-448-2383.
Most recently, Harris served as vice president for development and alumni relations and director of the campaign at Muhlenberg College in Allentown, Pa. At Muhlenberg, she was a senior executive responsible for annual and alumni giving, philanthropy and development of a cohesive and cooperative team. She led the college’s comprehensive $110 million comprehensive campaign to completion. Previously, she was vice president for Institutional Advancement at Meredith College in Raleigh, N.C., where she led all development, alumni and parent relations activities. She also spent five years at Wabash College in Crawfordsville, Ind., and eight years at Earlham College in Richmond, Ind., in various leadership functions within institutional advancement and student development.
Harris graduated from Miami University in Oxford with a bachelor of science degree in the School of Applied Science. She has extensive professional development through CASE, AFP Executive Management Institute and IUPUI’s Lilly Family School of Philanthropy.