President's Announcement of Drew's New Vice President for University Advancement, 2/11/19.


President’s Announcement of Drew’s New Vice President for University Advancement, 2/11/19

February 11, 2019

Dear Drew community members,

I am very happy to share that Bret Silver will join Drew to lead its fundraising efforts as vice president for university advancement this month. A senior non-profit administrator and institutional advancement executive with 30 years of experience at New York City’s leading universities and cultural organizations, Bret will bring a long record of successful and innovative approaches to building sustainable philanthropic support, as well as a personal passion for higher education.

Bret most recently served as the chief strategy and external relations officer at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts and, from 2011 to 2017, was the vice president for development at Barnard College of Columbia University, leading fundraising, alumnae relations and the Office of Career Development. Prior to his time at Barnard, Bret held increasingly senior management roles at Carnegie Hall, the Whitney Museum of American Art and, from 2001 to 2011, Jazz at Lincoln Center, where he served as chief external relations officer with responsibility for all development, marketing and communications functions.

When Bret arrived at Barnard, both the College’s endowment and its levels of annual contributions were insufficient relative to its operating budget and fully need-blind aid policy. Under the leadership of President Debora Spar, Bret reimagined and repositioned Barnard’s fundraising operation, with a special focus on faculty support and scholarships to support a socioeconomically diverse student body. He conceived and led a $400 million capital campaign that increased Barnard’s endowment by 60 percent, doubled the number of faculty chairs, funded construction of a new library and social sciences building and significantly increased annual and planned giving. He also developed an international network of principal donors, building relationships for the College in China, Korea, India, Brazil and the United Kingdom.

Many thanks to the Search Committee, which was chaired by Javier Viera, vice provost and dean of the Theological School. Committee members included Carol Bassie, director of alumni and parent relations, Andrew Bonamici, university librarian, Judy Campbell P’94, G’10,’16, member of the Board of Trustees, Stacy Fischer, director of the Center for Global Education, De’Andre Salter C’92, member of the Board of Trustees, Chris Taylor, professor of Islamic history and Middle East studies, and Marc Tomljanovich, professor of economics.

I’m confident that Bret’s considerable fundraising achievements, in New York City and beyond, will allow us to build on our record of success and provide even greater support for some of our most important initiatives, including Launch, our new approach to undergraduate education that syncs rigorous academics with career preparation, out-of-the-classroom experiences such as our New York City Semesters, hands-on research opportunities, new programs in both the Theological School and Caspersen School and scholarships for our students. Additionally, Bret’s experience in arts philanthropy brings a welcome new dimension to our fundraising team.

Please join me in welcoming Bret to the Drew community.


MaryAnn Baenninger
Drew University