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Administration: VP of Development to Resign from Post

By Susan McMillan Posted: 12/01/2006
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Matthew Steinberg
Johnnie Ray, senior vice president for development and University relations, has been overseeing the year-old Capital Campaign.
Emory's top fund-raising officer, Senior Vice President for Development and University Relations Johnnie Ray, announced Nov. 21 that he will leave the University for a job as president and CEO of the Arizona State University Foundation.

The announcement comes a little more than a year into the largest fund-raising campaign in University history, a seven-year effort that began last Sept. 1 and aims to raise as much as $2 billion.

But administrators and volunteers working on the Capital Campaign say Ray's departure won't trip up fund-raising efforts.

"There are a lot of people working on it," said Sonny Deriso ('68C, '72L), a trustee and the volunteer chair of the campaign, "so when you lose someone significant, it doesn't mean you stop. You keep going."

Ray will join the ASU Foundation, which raises private money for the university and manages its endowment, on Jan. 15.

University President James W. Wagner said he hopes the search committee for Ray's successor will identify someone by March to begin work by the end of the academic year.

Until then, Wagner said, he will convene meetings with the Capital Campaign's leaders, as he did with the University's deans in the period before Emory hired Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost Earl Lewis.

"The good news is that [Ray] has done a terrific job of reorganizing and building a strong program with a lot of momentum," Wagner said. "I'm hopeful that we're not going to see a big interruption with his leaving."

Trustee Rusty French ('67C), volunteer chair of leadership gifts, said much of the initial planning for the Capital Campaign is already complete.

"A lot of the effort is moving down into the departmental chairs," he said. "We're ready to take the next steps."

It's not necessary to work under a chair of development, French said, but that person can be viewed as the "quarterback" who keeps a campaign staff focused and in close communication with administrators and trustees.

Ray came to Emory in July 2004 from the University of Texas, Austin, where he led an eight-year capital campaign that raised $1.6 billion.

Over the next several years, the ASU Foundation will be involved in raising money to help ASU achieve its vision of "A New American University," including increasing the university's enrollment from 63,000 to 90,000.

Phil Hills, vice president for development for health sciences and co-director of the Capital Campaign, said Ray "transformed development" to prepare the University for a campaign by expanding the fund-raising staff and defining policies for accepting gifts.

Ray declined to comment for this article. But in a Nov. 21 announcement to the staff of the Office of Development and University Relations, he wrote, "I am very proud of what we have accomplished together. We have constructed an organization that is capable of being a lynchpin in the execution of Emory's grand vision."

Executive Vice President for Health Affairs and CEO of the Woodruff Health Science Center Michael Johns, who is chairing the committee charged with finding Ray's successor, said strong candidates would have proven leadership in fund-raising campaigns.

Johns said he hopes to find a replacement "as soon as we possibly can."

"We need to do this properly and judiciously but with some speed so we can get another leader on board," Johns said.

Deriso said Emory will benefit from the opportunity to bring in a new development vice president.

"Whoever we get will have new talents, a new perspective and obviously different leadership skills than Johnnie," he said.

Until the new development chief arrives, administrators and fund-raising officers said, most of the campaign's day-to-day operations will remain unchanged.

"We'll be telling our staffs that it's business as usual," said Dan Macaluso, vice president for development for University programs and co-director of the Capital Campaign. "We have a lot of relationships to build, a lot of work to do, and we'll keep working in that direction."

- Editor in Chief Robbie Brown contributed reporting to this article.
Contact Susan McMillan at semcmil@learnlink.emory.edu

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