Vice President for Institutional Advancement

(updated 6/13/22)

Executive Summary

Hollins is an independent, liberal arts university in Roanoke, Virginia offering undergraduate education for women and selected graduate programs for men and women. Founded in 1842 as Virginia’s oldest chartered women’s college, Hollins provides abundant opportunities to students for leadership development, research, and study abroad, and provides access to real-world internships around the globe largely supported by an extensive alumnae/i network, which has been recognized by The Princeton Review as the fifth best in the nation among private schools. The institution’s traditions are the backbone of the Hollins experience and continue to help its alumnae/i community stay connected to the university and one another.

The vice president for institutional advancement (VPIA) reports to the president and leads the advancement team to realize its vision of being a premier fundraising enterprise built upon outstanding alumnae/i and donor engagement. The VPIA drives fundraising and alumnae/i relations, supports the philanthropic engagement of the trustees and university friends, and supports the president’s fundraising activities.

The ideal VPIA will be a collaborative and proven leader who has passion for women’s higher education and has the confidence and experience to set priorities and assume responsibility for a broad and complex set of initiatives related to the philanthropic priorities and activities of the university. Early in their tenure, the VPIA will actively develop a growing institutional advancement team, formalize and enact a plan for the university’s next comprehensive campaign, utilize data and quantitative metrics to set and measure goals, build relationships with the active and engaged alumnae/i network, and work to leverage the involvement of university partners in fundraising. The full prospectus can be found here.

Hollins strives for diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice, and the university has made great progress in many respects. Hollins has made financial aid for students with demonstrated need a priority with 99% of its students receiving some form of aid. Among the incoming first-year cohort, 100% received some form of financial aid, and 38% were Pell Grant-eligible.

Known for its creative and highly engaged student body, as well as its commitment to inclusive academic excellence, Hollins prides itself on its nationally recognized and award-winning undergraduate and gender-inclusive graduate academic programs, its extraordinarily beautiful campus surrounded by the Blue Ridge Mountains, and its unique ability to ensure that each of its students has the opportunity to design a transformational college experience. The university’s active faculty provide an unparalleled personal learning experience for its nearly 1,000 undergraduate and graduate students. With a visionary new president at the helm, a strong record of alumnae/i engagement and giving, and institutional eagerness to implement new and transformative programs, Hollins aims to position both its students and itself to thrive amid the opportunities and challenges emerging from the ever-changing higher education landscape. 

Leadership, Governance, and Finances

Mary Dana Hinton, Ph.D., became the 13th president of Hollins University in August 2020. A respected proponent of the liberal arts in educational equity, President Hinton aims to lead Hollins into the future by becoming a model of inclusivity in women’s education.

Hollins University is governed by a Board of Trustees comprised of 26 people who are leaders in their respective fields and who render extensive service to the university. Along with contributing generous donations to Hollins, the trustees are actively engaged and supportive of the university’s overarching mission.

Hollins enjoys a financial profile envied by many small liberal arts colleges. The university has the fourth largest endowment among private colleges in Virginia—standing at $219 million as of June 30, 2021—and has operated without external debt since 2008. Hollins’ graduates are especially generous in supporting their alma mater. In 2010, Hollins completed the largest fundraising campaign in the university’s history, raising $162 million. In 2017, Hollins achieved its highest single year fundraising total, meeting a six-month $10 million challenge for the university’s 175th anniversary. In 2021, Hollins University received $75 million, the largest gift to Hollins and the largest gift ever given to a women’s college. Even though the financial foundation of Hollins is solid, challenges persist as a tuition-driven institution. The annual fund provides a significant part of the operating budget, and the VPIA plays a central role in that fundraising effort.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Hollins strives for diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice, and the university has made great progress in some respects. The university’s student body has become one of the most diverse in the nation among liberal arts colleges: 34% of all domestic undergraduate students self-identify as students of color, 25% are first-generation college students, and 10% are international students representing 22 countries. As noted above, Hollins has made financial aid for students with demonstrated need a priority with 99% of its students receiving some form of aid. Also as referenced above, among the incoming first-year cohort, 100% received some form of financial aid, and 38% were Pell Grant-eligible. 

Campus and Facilities

The Hollins campus is, in a word, beautiful—475 acres nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The Front Quadrangle is listed in the National Register of Historic Places, and the Wyndham Robertson Library has been designated a national Literary Landmark. The new student apartment village, featuring apartment-style housing, is comprised of seven new buildings enabling 68 students to enjoy modern housing and independent living. In the last 15 years, over 50% of the buildings on campus have been renovated or undergone major updates, including the Dana Science Building and the establishment of the state-of-the-art Eleanor D. Wilson Museum within the Wetherill Visual Arts Center.

Roanoke, Virginia

With approximately 100,000 residents, Roanoke is a diverse city, located just south of the Hollins campus. The city of Roanoke is a part of the larger Roanoke Valley, which is home to 300,000 residents. The area offers a variety of cultural, educational, and entertainment opportunities, including excellent schools, many restaurants and breweries, the Taubman Museum of Art, the Harrison Museum of African American Culture, the Science Museum of Western Virginia, the Kids Square children’s museum, Mill Mountain Theatre, and the Jefferson Center, which hosts performances by organizations such as the Roanoke Ballet. Roanoke’s Berglund Center also hosts a range of larger musical events and concerts. Roanoke is the medical hub for the region and is home to two major hospitals, as well as the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine and the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute.

Roanoke is especially well known for its outdoor recreational resources. Home to numerous nature and hiking trails, Roanoke has been named “Best Place to Raise an Outdoor Family.” Domestic travel is also convenient from Hollins with the nearby Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional Airport, which has nonstop service to cities including Atlanta, Chicago, New York, Orlando, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C. There is Amtrak train service as well for passengers to Baltimore, Boston, New York, Philadelphia, and Washington D.C. 

Role and Impact of the Vice President for Institutional Advancement

As the chief philanthropic officer, the vice president of institutional advancement will embody all that is Hollins. In addition to exceptional fundraising and management skills, the VPIA will nurture, support, engage, and celebrate the people and traditions that define Hollins University. The VPIA provides leadership for all advancement programs in support of the university’s mission and goals; works collaboratively with the president, Board of Trustees, donors at all levels, alumnae/i and friends of the university; and develops both long-term and short-term strategies and programs for engagement, cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship of constituents in all matters pertaining to the advancement and philanthropic support of the university.

Institutional advancement includes major giving and planned giving, advancement services, donor relations and stewardship, annual giving, alumnae/i relations, and corporate and foundation relations.

The VPIA serves as an active and engaged member of the president’s Cabinet.

Hollins University expects to engage in campaign planning in the next six months. The VPIA will have a visible and strategic role in the campaign and will serve as one of its leading architects.

The VPIA’s responsibilities include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Lead and manage the institutional advancement staff.
  • Oversee the planning, implementation, and measurement of all programs and activities designed to enhance philanthropic support of the university, e.g., by establishing office-wide goals and metrics for all areas and by directing the strategic implementation and assessment of fundraising and engagement strategies to achieve these goals.
  • Engage and enhance the culture of philanthropy both on and off campus by cultivating strong working relationships.
  • Plan and support all fundraising and constituent activities of the president, academic leaders, other departments, alumnae/i volunteers, and faculty.
  • Engage faculty in fundraising to support research and professional development.
  • Build relationships with students as future donors.
  • Work with the Board of Trustees and Committee on Development chair and other leaders on the board to ensure coordination and continued progress of all fundraising and constituent engagement activities.
  • Develop a segmented and comprehensive communication plan that engages alumnae/i across generational divides and speaks to each generation’s concerns.
  • Manage the cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship of a portfolio of leadership gift prospects through personal visits and other forms of communication.
  • Serve as a member of the president’s Cabinet and be responsible for advising and working with colleagues and the president on the full spectrum of institutional issues.
  • In partnership with the executive vice president and chief operating officer, set fundraising goals and priorities to support strategic and operational needs of the institution.
  • Establish and manage the budget for the institutional advancement office.
  • Represent the university at events, to volunteer groups, and in the community with the goal of increasing the visibility of the university’s fundraising priorities and needs.
  • Ensure that all programs and activities of institutional advancement office are consistent with diversity, equity, and inclusion principles and with the university’s DEI policies and practices.

Major Objectives

In the first 12 to 18 months of service, the VPIA will work to achieve the following objectives:

  • Serve as chief philanthropic advisor to the president on all issues related to institutional advancement, including cultivation of donors and direction of the campaign.
  • Build relationships and trust with all stakeholders, including encouraging and strengthening engagement and philanthropy with trustees and other significant stakeholders.
  • Implement management and administrative infrastructure to achieve IA goals, including a restructuring of the institutional advancement office using best practices and recommendations recently proposed by Campbell and Company.
  • Introduce and implement a new data-driven system to set goals and evaluate advancement initiatives.
  • Implement a plan to increase, maintain, and enhance annual giving outcomes alongside the Hollins Fund team.
  • Develop institutional advancement staff and volunteers toward the goal of achieving a successful comprehensive campaign.
  • Develop a comprehensive, customizable plan for alumnae/i
  • Formalize the upcoming plan and begin the quiet phase of the university’s next comprehensive campaign.


To be successful, the VPIA must bring the following experience and qualifications:

  • At least seven years of progression in responsibilities and leadership in institutional advancement (or equivalent).
  • Demonstrated experience as a successful fundraiser and relationship-builder in a complex and dynamic environment, ideally in higher education.
  • The capability to successfully serve as an architect, champion, and leader of the university’s comprehensive campaign.
  • The ability to identify and advance the president’s fundraising priorities.
  • A collaborative and inspiring approach that is supported by data-centered rigor and a strong emphasis on accountability.
  • Experience working with a chief financial officer to set financial goals.
  • Entrepreneurial and innovative thinking.
  • Leadership presence that is effective with diverse constituencies including trustees, Cabinet members, alumnae/i, and faculty.
  • Demonstrated listening, change management, and relationship-building skills.
  • Proven ability to successfully achieve both short- and long-term goals.
  • The ability to travel at least 30% of work schedule and at times with the president and advancement team members.
  • Master’s degree or equivalent or equivalent combination of education and experience. Doctoral degree or equivalent and more than ten years of experience preferred.

Application Process

Applicants should submit a resume, cover letter clearly outlining their experience with institutional advancement, and a statement about their commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion as a leadership imperative and in the work of fundraising to Screening of candidates will begin immediately, and preference will be given to applications received by July 15, 2022. Semi-final candidates will be asked to submit contact information for five references. The selected candidate must have a valid United States driver’s license with minimal violations and will be subject to credit, criminal history, and motor vehicle background checks. Additionally, the incumbent must live or relocate within the Roanoke, Virginia regional area.

Hollins is an equal opportunity employer and is strongly committed to promoting diversity and inclusivity at every level of the university. Persons of all genders; persons with disabilities; persons of all racial, ethnic, and cultural backgrounds; and first-generation college graduates are encouraged to apply.

For more information about Hollins, please visit our website (