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UNH Announces New Vice President for Advancement

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debbie dutton

Deborah Dutton will become vice president for advancement and president of the UNH Foundation, effective Sept. 1, 2012.

Dutton has most recently served as vice president for development and alumni relations at Colby College. During her six-year tenure, and before being promoted to vice president, she served as campaign director and led the school’s largest fundraising effort, the Reaching the World campaign, which surpassed its goal to raise $376 million when it concluded in 2010.

During the campaign, she led efforts to revamp gift planning, major gifts and the annual fund. As vice president, she created a five-year philanthropic plan in support of the Colby 2013 fundraising initiatives currently underway. 

“Over the course of her career, Debbie has demonstrated that she is a strong leader with the experience we at the University of New Hampshire need in order to continue building our efforts in fundraising, alumni engagement and communications,” said UNH President Mark Huddleston. “It is clear that she not only has the vision and the strategic sense that are essential to this work, she also possesses the rare personal qualities that will enable her to galvanize our dedicated volunteer and professional teams to successfully achieve our shared ambitions.”

Dutton’s career in development began at the Maine chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. She has held development positions in major gifts and management at three Harvard teaching hospitals: the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, Children's Hospital, and the Joslin Diabetes Center. While at Joslin Diabetes Center, Dutton built and led a team through the strategic planning process and the silent phase of a major capital fundraising initiative. She also was a senior leadership giving officer at Bates College.

Dutton earned a bachelor of arts degree in journalism from the University of Maine and a master of science degree in business management from Lesley College.

“UNH is a wonderful institution, and I am honored to represent it in this way,” Dutton said. “I am a strong believer in public higher education and in the mission of the land-grant colleges. State institutions like my alma mater and UNH make it possible for students from almost any background to get an excellent education. This is motivating and inspiring to me.

“I am eager to partner with the UNH community to increase alumni, parent and community engagement, and achieve success in enhancing philanthropic opportunities that will benefit current and future generations of UNH students,” Dutton said.

President Speaks to Search Process

Colleagues --

I am writing to share some reflections about the process I followed in bringing Debbie Dutton on board as vice president for University Advancement. This was not a typical search because the circumstances were not typical. I believed we needed an experienced professional, at the top of her game, and ideally someone who both appreciated our culture and would readily understand our idiosyncratic history with private fundraising. And we needed such a person soon, to continue the momentum we are building in the early phases of our comprehensive campaign.

None of these characteristics suggested to me that a wide-ranging public search, spread inevitably over many months, would yield the desired candidate. Moreover, it seems increasingly true that successful professionals in highly competitive fields, particularly this one, are unlikely to subject themselves to long search and interview processes in which their names will become public information; too many such individuals have learned the hard way that to become known as seeking a new job can be the “kiss of death” with current employers.

For these reasons, I turned immediately to the pool of candidates who had surfaced in the search that brought us Peter Weiler, and particularly to the strongest alternative candidate in that pool, Debbie Dutton. I ascertained Debbie’s continuing interest, updated her about our progress since we had last spoken, and put her in touch with volunteer leaders from the Alumni Association and the Foundation boards, as well as the campaign steering committee. I reached out to certain individuals who had served on the initial search committee to seek their advice on Debbie’s renewed candidacy.

All these conversations, which collectively represented faculty and staff, yielded strong endorsements, as did a re-check of Debbie’s professional references. Debbie then interviewed on campus with representatives of the academic deans, with those who would become her direct reports in Advancement, and in a group session with the larger Advancement staff. Thus, while this search was highly targeted and closely held, I believe it met the standards of integrity we seek to uphold in recruiting and hiring key staff at UNH. Most important, I am certain that Debbie will soon demonstrate why I have such high confidence in her abilities.

Debbie plans to join us on campus as soon as she can, and certainly very early in the new academic year. Please join me in welcoming her to our circle of colleagues.


Mark Huddleston