Distributed April 26, 2002
For Immediate Release

News Service Contact: Mark Nickel

Ronald Vanden Dorpel named senior vice president for advancement

Ronald D. Vanden Dorpel, a Brown alumnus who is currently vice president for university development at Northwestern University, has been named senior vice president for advancement at Brown University. Vanden Dorpel will begin his work at Brown in August.

PROVIDENCE — Ronald D. Vanden Dorpel, currently vice president for university development at Northwestern University, has been named senior vice president for advancement at Brown University. He will begin his duties in Providence in mid-August.

Vanden Dorpel, who planned and implemented Northwestern’s successful $1.4-billion capital campaign, is a Brown alumnus (A.M., history, 1971) and former member of Brown’s Development Office, where he directed the Office of Corporate and Foundations Relations in the early 1980s.

“The loyalty and support of Brown alumni and friends constitute Brown’s most precious resource,” said Brown President Ruth J. Simmons in a letter to the University’s leadership. “As the University moves forward with our plans for academic enrichment and enhancement, I look forward to working closely with Ron Vanden Dorpel to develop and implement a new strategy and programs of alumni engagement designed to make Brown the very best university it can be.”

Brown established the position of senior vice president for advancement in January 2002, following an internal review of the University’s advancement effort. That review, undertaken at Simmons’ direction, strongly recommended that the University bring its fund-raising and alumni relations efforts into a single, focused organization. The Office of Advancement unites three separate offices – Alumni Relations, Development, and International Advancement and Volunteer Engagement.

“Even from more than a thousand miles away, it was clear that Brown is an institution on the move, full of energy, bold plans and great ambitions,” Vanden Dorpel said. “I am thrilled to become part of the campus community once again, and I am eager to begin working with President Simmons and my new colleagues on Brown’s visionary initiatives for academic enrichment. These initiatives give Brown a compelling case and a unique opportunity to enhance its development and alumni relations programs. At the same time, I am enormously grateful to Northwestern for the rare privilege of leading its development and alumni relations activities for the last fifteen years.”

A graduate of the Ohio State University (B.A. in history, 1969), Vanden Dorpel earned a master’s degree in history at Brown in 1971, completing all the course requirements for a Ph.D. in early modern European history. Commissioned in the U.S. Air Force in 1969, he was called to active duty in 1971 and served with distinction until 1976. He continued in the USAF Reserve, retiring as a colonel in 1993.

Vanden Dorpel began his advancement career at Bryant College in 1977, serving as director of college resources. He joined Brown’s Development Office in April 1980 as associate director of corporate and foundation relations, becoming director of that office one year later. He also served as associate director of University development. He moved to Yale in 1983, where he was responsible for generating $36 million annually in corporate and foundation gifts and grants.

Since 1987, Vanden Dorpel has been responsible for university development at Northwestern, managing a $12-million budget and a development staff of 138. His accomplishments there include:

  • Planning and implementing a five-year $1-billion campaign. The campaign goal was increased to $1.4 billion in May 2000.
  • Establishing a principal gifts ($5 million and above) solicitation program which has raised more than $773 million since 1987.
  • Creating a planned and major gifts staff which has made Northwestern the second-ranking institution among U.S. colleges and universities in life income assets.
  • Nearly quadrupling total annual alumni giving and doubling annual gifts to the endowment since 1987.