Tamara E. Rogers '74, fundraising dean for the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study and a close adviser to University President Drew G. Faust, will take charge of Harvard's development effort, the University announced Friday.
Rogers, a 29-year Harvard veteran, will assume the post of vice president for alumni affairs and development on Oct. 1. She will be faced with jump-starting the University’s long-awaited capital campaign, which was delayed several times during Lawrence H. Summers' tumultuous five-year presidency.
The University's top administrators and its two governing boards have begun academic planning for the campaign, Rogers said in an interview.
With Rogers' appointment, Faust's central administration, which had several vacancies when she was named in the spring, will be almost complete. As the University's fundraising chief, Rogers will replace Donella M. Rapier, who resigned in June. Rapier suggested at the time that Faust had asked her to leave the post.
Rogers spent more than a decade in the admissions office before taking over as director of major gifts for the Faculty of Arts and Sciences and helping oversee financial aid fundraising during the University's last capital campaign, in the 1990s. Faust first hired Rogers in 2001, at the start of Faust's tenure as Radcliffe dean. Faust said in Friday's announcement that Rogers was a "key member" of her leadership team at Radcliffe, helping "to define the scope of the new institute and build support for its mission among Radcliffe alumnae and new supporters."
At Radcliffe, Rogers oversaw the Radcliffe Development Office as well as the Radcliffe Association, formerly the Radcliffe College Alumni Association. Rogers said that her seven years of experience working with Faust will help her hit the ground running.
"We have excellent communication," Rogers said. "I have worked with her expressly around issues of alumni affairs and development. I know how she works in that way...I've seen her in action, so I don’t have to learn that."
As Faust and Rogers lay the groundwork for the capital campaign, they may also rethink some of the priorities championed by Summers.
Diana M. Nelson ’84, a member of a group of major alumni donors, said she expected them to stay focused on high-profile issues like Allston and undergraduate education. But, Nelson said, the two might come up with different "specific funding priorities" detailing how money should be spent within these areas. She emphasized she did not expect funding decisions to be made through a "top-down, centralized process" but rather one involving deans and faculties across the University. Summers was criticized by many professors for not giving them enough input into deciding how Harvard's money should be spent.
Rogers said that her main job will be to introduce Harvard's new president to alumni around the country and the world, in keeping with a Harvard career that she frames as largely ambassadorial.
"In all of my career in admissions and development, I’ve represented Harvard to alumni and the wider world, because I believe so much in Harvard and feel so strongly about it," Rogers said. She said her immediate priorities will be to ensure that University fundraising is robust leading up to the launch of the capital campaign, particularly to support financial aid and faculty research.
Faust appinted Rogers with assistance from an advisory committee made up of senior University administrators including David T. Ellwood '75, dean of the Kennedy School of Government; Jay O. Light, dean of Harvard Business School; Kathleen McCartney, dean of the Graduate School of Education; and Paul J. Finnegan '75, former president of the Harvard Alumni Association.
"My understanding is that it was a really thoughtful process," Nelson said. "Nothing was assumed or promised to Tamara."
Paul J. Zofnass '69, part of the group of major alumni donors, said Rogers is "right up there with the best of" fundraisers.
"I think she is going to be a great soldier—more than a great soldier, a great lieutenant—in terms of helping Drew accomplish her goals," he said.
—Staff writer Claire M. Guehenno can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
—Staff writer Laurence H. M. Holland can be reached at email@example.com.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story said Rogers spent more than two decades in the admissions office. In fact, she spent more than one decade there.