William R. Wootton’s Resumé

William R. Wootton’s Resumé

Interim Executive Director, Bergen Community College Foundation, Paramus NJ October, 2018 – February, 2019.

Note: This foundation, at a 17,000-student Associates Degree institution, had been without an executive director for three years, had no experienced fund raisers, and a board suffering attrition which took presidential action to achieve a simple quorum. Although conducting a number of successful events in the past, the Foundation had no viable annual or alumni fund, no major gift program and no effective constituency data base, among other issues. Staff consisted of an accountant, and events/alumni coordinator, and a newly transferred, but experienced, office secretary. 

This was a four- month Registry for College and University Presidents assignment.

** In consultation with Foundation Directors, proposed new meeting methodologies to alleviate absenteeism. 

** Created and conducted modest fall (and planned spring) annual and alumni fund solicitations.

** Created Planed Giving Committee and institutional plan to foster its growth. Finalized and secured $100,000 endowed scholarship. Methodically engaged disgruntled Directors to reestablish commitment to governance. 

** Created and institutionalized Board of Directors/Foundation and College communications and reporting systems, content, and responsibilities. 

** Rearranged, promoted, or secured current staffing positions and duties.

** Wrote comprehensive Gift Acceptance Policies.

** Closely participated in selection and hiring of new executive director.

** Designed and documented new Foundation publication

** Consulted with president and executive staff on student retention issues and financial aid policies.

** Met with past, current, and prospective major gift prospects to reestablish Foundation credibility and development plans. 

Interim Vice President of Advancement and Executive Director, Highlands Foundation, Highlands University, Las Vegas, NM July, 2014 – September, 2015

Note: The Highlands Foundation, virtually ignored by two successive presidents over almost ten years, had become increasingly ineffective, often leaderless, over-politicized, and, on the operational side, poorly administered. The University itself was under tremendous fiscal pressure, and fund-raising and university relations were seriously under staffed and under equipped, while expectations were unreasonably high.  

This was a Registry for College and University Presidents assignment, originally designed as a two year appointment, but which ended after 15 months with the appointment of a new University president. 

Among the successes:

Among the initiatives undertaken: 

** The complete reorganization of the Foundation board and the implementation of a new meeting methodology and committee structure. 

** The creation of a 1% management fee on the Foundation’s $6.5 million endowment, composed of about 100 individual scholarships, giving the Foundation much needed operating funds.

** The implementation of an Annual Fund, and the design of a planned giving program.

** The reorganizing and streamlining of scholarship and grants management.

** The design and editing of new biannual development-focused publication for alumni and friends of the University

** The purchase of and training on four essential electronic tools for a successful advancement office. Chosen were: 

Bloomerang: a constituency management and development system.

WealthEngine: which helps identify and manage large constituencies based on public information.

AwardSpring: A scholarship management tool, used by the Foundation’s accounting office, development officers, and the office of financial aid.

Foundation Search: a large, interactive database of public and private foundations and their giving priorities, geographic scope, and other pre-application information.  

** The implementation of a Foundation program directly assisting University programs and initiatives – New Mexico Science Fair, music and theater performances, art gallery shows – with active fund-raising help, constituency management and communications, and money when needed. 

** The design of the future fund-raising and university relations office at the University, including timelines, position requirements, and transition plans, as well as alternate models. 

** The achievement, in one year, of a positive balance between what the Foundation offices cost the University and how much money the Foundation raised.  

 ** Lead the senior staff in understanding the dynamics of enrollment management, where the problems were at Highlands, and, with the president, laid out various options to address the issue, while taking specific actions in admissions communications. 

President, Sterling College: July, 2006 – October, 2012

In 2006, besides being the smallest liberal arts college in the nation, Sterling College had a number of valuable or distinguishing characteristics: an unusual and deep commitment to combining traditional and experiential academics; its status as a Work College; its focused, environmentally oriented areas of concentration; an intact consensus model of governance; an attitude of thrift and efficiency; and a high level of individual and institutional integrity.

At the same time, the situation at Sterling was dire, although it was uncertain to what extent the institution understood the degree of the threat. Among the highlights:

* Having recently become a four year college, Sterling had not developed a coherent, student-oriented upper level curriculum. 

* There was a 25-percent attrition rate among second semester seniors, and unacceptable attrition throughout. 

* Academic leadership was thin and uncertain.

* In August, 2006 Sterling faced a $350,000 deficit. 

* The College’s admissions and institutional marking was insufficient, poorly designed and poorly supported.  

* The board of trustees was under-informed and under strain, facing significant unplanned for change. It lacked a nominating process and an executive committee.

* The College’s physical infrastructure- its residencies, labs, office spaces, and maintenance procedures – was in no condition to accommodate needed and desired growth.

* The College’s electronic infrastructure was inadequate for up-to-date academic and administrative purposes.

* Sterling’s fund-raising was stagnant and without plan, its foundation relations minimal, and its advancement staffing non-existent. 

The solutions to these challenges and problems were addressed programmatically, beginning with the formulation of the Sustainable Sterling Plan and Campaign: a series of fund-raising goals and academic and institutional initiatives designed to focus the institution on the fundamental changes needed to stabilize and grow the college. The ultimate aim was to eliminate endemic operating deficits through comprehensive institutional strengthening.                                

Today, the single most significant change at Sterling has been the development and implementation of the year-round college system. Its beneficial influence on financial stability, admissions, and academic life and practice is equaled by the potential it holds as a new model of small, independent academic institutions. While the year-round schedule affects and frames everything the College’s does, it is simply the most over-arching among many initiatives and programs that have been employed over the past six yeas. 

* There are now three tracks to graduation in a restructured curriculum that emphasizes self-designed majors, sequential and on-going writing instruction and support, and new student advising protocols and practices. 

* Senior retention is 100 percent or close to it. The creation of a College-wide standing committee on student enrollment, and a renewed focus on the criticality of effective faculty advising, have brought Sterling’s overall retention rates to average or better over the past two years. 

* Funded almost entirely by grants, appropriations, and restricted gifts Sterling conducted major renovations and environmental improvements on its buildings and infrastructure, including residencies, classrooms, offices, and public spaces. In purchasing a former inn, the College acquired a new residency and teaching space, and developed new academic programs to fill it. Currently, plans and funding are underway for a $600,000 new teaching horse barn and farm renovation project, to be completed in fall, 2013.

* New capabilities, management tools, and training helped admissions adjust to the new admissions cycles of year-round operation. The college grew from about 90 to 114 FTE, but has room for growth to a year round FTE of 150.

* The College developed new, income producing academic programs, most notably Vermont’s Table, a stand-alone summer semester intensive on rural food systems, cooking, and entrepreneurism. 

* In fund-raising the College raised over $1million in restricted monies over five years, providing for critical renovations and expansions, as well as investments in academic facilities and equipment. Unrestricted annual fund-raising quickly reached the $300,000 to $350,000 level and then flattened after 2008. Annual funds have maintained at about six percent of operating revenues. The Campaign’s four year goal of $2.3 million was exceeded by about $400,000. 

Additional Details –                


* Developed and instituted year-round college system, adding a fully integrated summer semester, increasing enrollment 15%, stabilizing finances, providing room for enrollment growth. 

* Restructured the College debt and initiated long-term plan and fund-raising campaign to eliminate endemic deficits.

* Invested over $1.2 million through grants, appropriations, and gifts in physical plant renovations, expansions, and additions to accommodate growth: 

   —Environmental renovation of two largest residencies

   —Purchase and renovation of Houston House, a former historic inn, for residency and instructional space. 

   —Construction (fall ’12) of new teaching barn and farm development project

   —Reclamation of a third floor for expansion of faculty offices and meeting spaces. 

* Instituted regularly-scheduled faculty salary increases linked to performance criteria and periodic one-semester sabbaticals. 

Marketing and Fund-raising:

* Created and launched the four-year $2.3 million Sustainable Sterling Campaign and Plan, a comprehensive campaign to build strength and address serious operating deficits.

* Brought in house management of all print and electronic media for institutional and admissions marketing.

* Redesigned, expanded, and edited biannual editions of Sterling’s flagship publication Common Voice.

* Oversaw developed of a new website, on-line academic catalogue, and institutional presence in all on-line media. 

* Oversaw or performed all fund-raising and foundation relation initiatives and grant writing.

* Developed new advancement office (2010): mentored new full time advancement officer, and two part time position: a major gift officer and an alumni director. 


* Lead curricular reorganization, reducing required courses from 60 credits to 30. 

* Addressed senior attrition rate of 25 percent to zero over two years.

* Redefined and oversaw developed of a robust self-designed cross disciplinary major.

* Developed new academic semester course, Vermont’s Table.

* Oversaw staffing and developed of a new writing curriculum within a $100,000 grant funded writing and communications center. 

Board Relations:

* Helped reorganize and energize the board nominating committee: to foster male/female balance; to build a stronger academic committee; to redefine the executive committee, and address other governance issues.

* Institutionalized the production and use of the board book – a thrice annual compellation of minutes, agendas, budgets, analyses, and documentation in preparation for trustee’s meetings. 


Predictions of Small Colleges’ Death Could be Premature: January 2009 Opinion page, Chronicle of Higher Education

We designed a 3-Year Degree…and Survived: March 2011 Opinion page, Chronicle of Higher Education

Fire Your Food Service and Grow Your Own: March 2013 Opinion page, Chronicle of Higher Education

The Real Reason Small Colleges Fail: June 2016 Opinion page, Chronicle of Higher Education


Good Luck Next Time: Life, Death, Irony, and the Administration of Very Small Colleges: A Literary Memoir. October 2017, Dryad Press (in association with Mandel Vilar Press). 


AVIC, Association of Vermont Independent Colleges 

Chair: 2009- 2011: Championed (and labored for) the creation of a 14 (+-) college semester exchange program as the first step in creating a genuine state-wide consortium. 

PGGNE, Planned Giving Group of New England 

WCC, Work College Consortium


Vice-President for Institutional Advancement

Montserrat College of Art, Beverley, MA

January 2003 – August 2005

*    Conceived, designed, and initiated Montserrat’s first multi-year $1.5 million comprehensive campaign.  (Raised $630,000 in Year I, doubling previous unrestricted giving).

*    Wrote successful $80,000 Davis Educational grant for start-up student internship program. 

*    Reorganized all fund-raising methodologies and procedures, constituency communications, created parents fund, segmented alumni, incorporated “Galley” constituency – generally put order to chaos, wherever possible.

*    Doubled trustee giving.


*    Served on the President’s Cabinet, participated in board nominating and development committees. 

*     Reorganized all functions and responsibilities in the 5-person advancement office, developing in-house print and web design capability, alumni relations, media relations.

*     Reorganized all fund-raising reporting mechanisms.

*    Oversaw – and increased revenue by 20 percent to $190,000– annual art auction/cultivation event. 


*    Created new annual magazine The Montserrat Portfolio.

*    Developed new, less costly college catalogue.

*    Edited and produced promotional video for admissions and auction.

*    Wrote, designed and produced 35th Anniversary Campaign prospectus.

*    Wrote and designed numerous admissions and marketing communications.

Vice-President for Institutional Advancement

Marlboro College, Marlboro, VT

1999 – 2003

*    Concentrated almost exclusively on all aspects of Marlboro’s $26 million endowment and building campaign.  The campaign concluded in 2004 at $28 million.

Director of Development (Chief Development Officer) 

Marlboro College

1987 – 1999

*    Planned and implemented 5-year $8 million comprehensive “50th Anniversary Campaign for Marlboro College”. 

*    Wrote and administered implementation of a 5-year $1.7 million institutional development and technology grant (DOE/titleIII).

*    Conducted individual gift solicitations/negotiations in amounts up to $1 million.

*    Developed and oversaw major gift cultivation and solicitation strategies for board members and president.

*    Created and marketed Marlboro’s deferred giving program: Bequest program of about $5 million; PIF of $800,000; CRT’s and other vehicles of some $7 million.

*    Created and marketed Automatic Contributions Transfer – ACT (a program of electronically transferred monthly gifts).

*    Created and implemented numerous fundraising/cultivation/stewardship strategies, events, publications, and programs.  Achieved 61 percent alumni giving – third highest in the nation, 1998.


*    Management of all aspects of seven person advancement office (including planned  giving, major gifts, foundation relations and grant writing, annual and capital programs, marketing and public relations).

*    Service to board committees:  executive and finance, advancement, nominations and board development, marketing

*    Board development: helped plan and implement board effectiveness measures; developed alumni trustee program; helped reorganize nomination procedures and board planning strategies and goals. Proposed and helped plan the first biannual board retreat.

*    New academic and institutional programs:  Helped identify, administer, market, and develop the college’s partnership with Huron University, London, and The Marlboro College Graduate Center, in Brattleboro, VT.

*    Policy:   Contributed in the development and implementation of long-range institutional strategies effecting the college as a whole, with presidents, trustees, senior staff, and outside counsel.


*    Wrote and edited biannual Marlboro Record (Development News) 1984  

*    Wrote and produced almost all current Campaign materials.

*    Editor and chief writer for Potash Hill, flagship publication of Marlboro College (1983-1987) thereafter, editorial advisor.

*    Wrote, designed, and produced numerous fundraising brochures, letters, newsletters for annual, capital, bequest and deferred giving programs and events.

*    Wrote and oversaw design of 50th Anniversary Campaign’s and current campaign’s prospectus and other publications and communications.

*    Oversaw all admissions, marketing and public relations programs and publications (1985 – 1992).


*    Managed many aspects of institutional public relations, including successful programs in national and regional media development.

*    Planned, implemented, and managed local/region institutional advancement program.

Employment History

 – Director of Publications & Public Relations: Marlboro College, 1985 – 1987

 – Alumni Director: Marlboro College, 1983 – 1985

 – Faculty member (English, Literature) and Director of the Summer School Kildonan School (grades 9-12), 1980 – 1983

 – Editor: Sampan (Boston’s Chinese/English language weekly newspaper) 1979 – 1980

 – Reporter: Burlington (VT) Free Press 1978-1979


MS, Journalism – Boston University, 1978

BA, Writing and Art – Marlboro College, 1972 (Highest Honors)


Presented numerous half- and full-day workshops on starting and maintaining planned giving programs in small institutions. Served as advancement and fund-raising consultant for numerous non-profits, including a start-up college of alternative medicine, a day care center, and the Vermont chapter of the Red Cross.


In earlier years, I pursued many short-lived occupations, including stints as a press secretary for a gubernatorial candidate, a freelance writer for Boston area newspapers, a foreman on a Colorado ranch, and a sous-chef in a French restaurant. 

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