Dawkins resigns from Development

Administrator moves to University of New Hampshire

One of Oberlin's most successful fund-raisers and a chief architect of the school's upcoming capital campaign is vacating his position.

Vice President for Development and Alumni Affairs Young Dawkins resigned to head the University of New Hampshire Foundation, the private fund-raising arm of the state's higher education system.

To explain why he is leaving Oberlin after experiencing great success, Dawkins described directing the Foundation as "the most significant career challenge I could take on right now. ... It is the only job I would have left Oberlin for."

He called the process of obtaining the job with the Foundation "a whirlwind romance of three months." He says he first considered the position in the spring. Dawkins will be responsible for both finding funds for the public college system receiving the least amount of tax-payer support in the country and working with the state legislature controlling the purse. He also acknowledges the enticement of moving back to his home state of New Hampshire as a factor in luring him away from Oberlin.

Dawkins said he is not leaving Oberlin because of any negative experiences. He even stated having a close relationship with President of the College Nancy Dye. He attributed the success of the Development Office to her leadership, the organization of the Office and a "great staff."

In a July 28 letter to the Oberlin community Dye said, "I am very disappointed to see Young leave Oberlin."

Dye added that, "He is a tremendously effective development officer who has taught the College a great deal about raising money."

Dawkins helped orchestrate three major gifts to Oberlin during his four-year tenure at the College: two of $3 million and one of $6 million.

He is leaving just as Oberlin is celebrating a record year of $24.1 million in fund-raising and planning to kick off a capital campaign with an estimated goal of $135-$150 million. But he said he is absolutely confident Oberlin will be successful in finishing the work of the campaign.

Dawkins said he wondered if his departure is ill-timed. "There was a feeling this may not be the right time. There's never a good time to leave."

Director of Major Gifts Kay Thomson is replacing Dawkins as Acting Vice President. She said this was the best time for him to depart. "While some may find this an odd time to leave, this would be the right time. This would be the ethical time to do it. It gives the institution an opportunity to find a replacement in a timely manner without compromising an ongoing capital campaign," she said.

The organization of the capital campaign is 75 percent complete, according to Thomson. Major tasks remaining include prioritizing which capital projects to fund first and hiring additional staff for the massive money-raising effort.

"Scholarships are still a number one focus," Thomson said. She also stated the construction of a new science facility is a top priority.

But the resignation of Dawkins gives rise to uncertainty of the date for the campaign's commencement.

Thomson said, "It is very difficult for us to say at this point when we can announce [the] public phase [of the campaign]. It [Dawkins' departure] does not mean we will come to a grinding halt."

Andy Evans, Vice President of Finance, predicts a capital campaign delay of a few months. But he feels confident in the abilities of the Development Office's current personnel. "We are fortunate that the staff that is assembled is poised to move ahead," he said.

Thomson said a realistic date for the hiring of a permanent replacement for Dawkins is the end of the academic year. The school is conducting a national search for a new vice president.

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Copyright © 1997, The Oberlin Review.
Volume 126, Number 1, September 5, 1997

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