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Endowing Transformation

Created: March 2, 2021
Last Updated: March 18, 2021

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W&J’s new VP for Development leans into the power of higher-education philanthropy

Carolyn Campbell-Golden, Ph.D., knew that Washington & Jefferson College was the right fit for her and her family before ever setting foot on campus.

After hearing about the open position of vice president for development and alumni engagement from a colleague, she started researching W&J and learning about the College’s unique culture. As she got further along in the hiring process and more familiar with the W&J community, she confirmed that W&J is an exciting place to be and W&J confirmed that she was the right fit to lead the Development and Alumni Engagement teams. Dr. Campbell-Golden first came to campus a month after accepting the position and found that what she felt from afar lined up with her first-hand experience.

“Throughout the interview process, I was told about the welcoming spirit and friendliness of the W&J family. I have found that to be true and am delighted to be a part of it,” Dr. Campbell-Golden says.

Dr. Campbell-Golden has worked as an administrator for higher education and non-profits for nearly 30 years. She joined W&J in August, coming from Auburn University in Alabama where she spent 22 years and was most recently Vice Chancellor for Advancement at Auburn Montgomery.

As a senior administrator, she served as co-chair for the university strategic planning process, provided leadership and direction throughout the university’s accreditation processes, spearheaded initiatives promoting diversity and inclusion, established and implemented faculty and staff advocacy committees, provided expert leadership and worked collaboratively with governing and foundation boards within the university system, and participated in countless projects and initiatives in the local community.

Dr. Campbell-Golden’s first experience in higher education development and alumni relations occurred when she worked to establish the foundation for Central Texas College in 1991. At the College’s first scholar and donor luncheon, Dr. Campbell-Golden recalled a young woman sharing the impact receiving the scholarship made on her and her family.

“I will never forget her words – ‘Had it not been for this endowment, I would not have been able to achieve my lifelong goal of a college degree,’” Dr. Campbell-Golden says. “This statement hit me like a lightning bolt. It demonstrated the critical role philanthropy plays in higher education and the power of a college education in transforming lives and a family tree.”

As a first-generation college student, a proud mother of three daughters, and a continuous pursuer of her own education, Dr. Campbell-Golden relates to the transformative power of higher education.

“First generation students and their stories still inspire me almost 30 years later. I find it incredibly rewarding to be able to play a role in facilitating partnerships that connect our alumni, foundations, corporations, and other stakeholders with deserving students, faculty research, critical programming, and capital initiatives,” she says.

A mentor of Dr. Campbell-Golden’s once said that for colleges and universities, “philanthropy makes the difference between mediocrity and excellence.”

“W&J has a great tradition of alumni supporting the life of the College. Now during this challenging and critical time in the life of the College, alumni support and engagement is more important than ever,” Dr. Campbell-Golden added. “Through the philanthropy of W&J alumni and friends, W&J will be able to continue to build its tradition of excellence and reach greater heights.”

Though many of her introductions to the W&J community have happened through screens, she looks forward to a time when she will be able to meet with alumni in person. In the meantime, she has been using the wide array of virtual tools at her disposal to make connections.

“What is most important is making the connection, however it may be, and making sure it is meaningful. It will be these contacts that can begin to build a bridge towards a relationship until we get on the other side of this challenge, can meet face-to-face, and exchange handshakes and hugs,” Dr. Campbell-Golden says. “Take heart and have faith, it will be here before we know it! Juncta Juvant!”

Dr. Campbell-Golden holds a master’s degree in Management from Faulkner University, master’s and doctorate degrees in Higher Education Administration from Auburn University, completed Harvard’s Institute for Educational Management program, holds a certificate in College and University Teaching, and is distinguished as a Fulbright Scholar. She has taught as an adjunct professor and has established an endowed scholarship for working mothers who are pursuing a degree.

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