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New VP has plans to raise money, improve alumni relations

The new vice president for advancement’s office doesn’t have any furniture yet, but although his workspace may be sparse, he has plenty of hefty tasks in front of him.
Pat Vickerman is in charge of raising funds for The Campaign for a Bradley Renaissance that will raise funds to construct and renovate campus buildings as well as improve the academic reputation of the university.
As part of the campaign, $118 million has been raised, and Vickerman is faced with the job of raising the $30 million needed to reach its goal.
“We’re looking to advance Bradley University by cultivating relationships,” he said. “We look at our alumni first and foremost and friends of the university, those that maybe are fans of the Bradley Braves or go to theater events.”
Vickerman started about two weeks ago, filling a position that has been vacant for about one year.
“[University President Joanne] Glasser has been pulling more than double duty,” he said. “There’s a real need to oversee this campaign and to make sure it is successful, but what we’re building is far more than this campaign. We’re putting together a foundation.”
Vickerman has had more than 15 years of higher education fundraising experience. He worked in the fundraising arm of Iowa State University, aiding in a project to raise $800 million.
He said his plans at Bradley include engaging alumni and other friends of the university in campus life and activities.
“We’re going to build on what the campaign is designed to do,” Vickerman said. “I’m getting in and assessing the advancement enterprise, getting a sense of what has worked and take the program to the next level.”
He said the bulk of the money for the campaign will come from alumni, friends and corporate supporters.
“A lot of times it starts by keeping people connected when they leave campus, but then also by providing opportunities to give back whether that’s volunteer efforts or philanthropically giving back,” Vickerman said.
He said the campaign is expected to end in 2010.
“Our alumni and friends have been very generous,” he said. “We’re facing economic uncertainty, but we continue to see our alumni and friends step up … Where we stand, we’re confident that we’re going to exceed the target of $150 million.”
Bradley’s endowment has dropped 26 percent in the last six months of 2008, and he said part of his job will be to raise money for the endowment and work to secure funds.
Vickerman said it’s important to him to be accessible to students and be open to meeting and talking with them.
“It’s an exciting time to be part of the Bradley community,” he said. “I’m just happy to be here and be part of the administration that’s going to propel this university to new heights.”
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