Office of Alumni and Development

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The Office of Alumni and Development (formerly known as University Development and Alumni Relations or UDAR) is an executive level operation, i.e. they answer directly to PrezBo without intermediaries. It currently does not have an Executive Vice President, after Fred Van Sickle left in spring 2014. It has a dual mission, as hinted by its name - cultivating a strong alumni base, and then getting their money. It can be argued that for a long time, Columbia skipped the first part of the equation.

They're at the top of the alumni relations and fundraising food chain at Columbia - all individual school and constituent offices answer to them. They are the force behind the Columbia Alumni Association, the Columbia Campaign, and they publish Columbia, the university's quarterly magazine for alumni.

Recent History

In 2010, Fred Van Sickle replaced Susan Feagin as the Executive Vice President. Van Sickle previously served as Feagin's right-hand-man and came with her to Columbia from the University of Michigan.

In 2009 UDAR rechristened itself as the Office of Alumni and Development (possibly) in honor of its move to the newly built Columbia Alumni Center in McVickar Hall.

Until 2005, UDAR had its own website[1], which served as the main 'Alumni Website' and highlighted its efforts on both fronts - development and relations. In 2005, Columbia Connections was launched as the new alumni website. During the summer of 2007, the website was rebranded and reorganized as the website of the Columbia Alumni Association, shortly after the launch of the Giving to Columbia website. Previously, the UDAR and Connections websites maintained a page which listed the options and directions for donating. This marked an unofficial bifurcation of the two pursuits.

In 2014, Van Sickle left the post after being appointed Chief Development Officer of the Institute for Advanced Study. As of April 2015, the EVP post is still vacant.

Alumni Relations

Although an Office of Alumni Relations had existed within UDAR, it wasn't until 2004 that it was elevated in importance when Eric Furda was appointed to the newly created position of Vice President for Alumni Relations. Previously, a single VP handled both alumni relations and development.

Prior to Furda's appointment as VP, Alumni Relations focused on providing Alumni Benefits, and overseeing Regional Alumni Clubs, the Columbia University Alumni Federation, and the Alumni Travel Study Program.

Since taking over, Furda has overseen the launch of the Columbia Alumni Association, the Columbia Connections website, and effort to strengthen the Regional Alumni Clubs. The CAA has been the vehicle for kick-starting a number of alumni services and events.

Furda was succeded in 2008 by Donna MacPhee.


The history of fundraising at Columbia is interesting, comical, and often forehead-slap worthy. However, with the launch of the Columbia Campaign, Columbia has stepped up it's efforts on the development front, laying the groundwork with the launch of the Columbia Alumni Association on the relations side first, and the launch during Summer of 2007 of the Giving to Columbia website, a quantum leap in it's web-based fundraising and awareness efforts.

Relationship with individual schools

While the Office of Alumni and Development is at the top of the fundraising and alumni relations food chain, it relies on each school's individual alumni and/or development offices to do a majority of the work engaging with alumni. The larger university-wide office typically does only programming that involves multiple schools (usually through the Columbia Alumni Association) or in different regions of the world (usually through the regional clubs). The Office of Alumni and Development, as a relatively new office, is still defining its role within the larger university; the lines are still a little blurry from time to time.

Notable individual school offices include:

It is important to note that both Barnard College and Teachers College maintain independent alumni operations, however they do collaborate on events through the Columbia Alumni Association.

External links