Advancement expands depth of high-performing team

mercyhurst egan hallWhen Sam McCrimmon, J.D., joined Mercyhurst University as vice president for advancement in June, he came with a time-honored code: you are only as effective as your team.

And so, much as he was happy with the talented staff he inherited, he opted to go bigger and broaden his department’s skill sets and expertise.

In October, he brought on Debbie Morton, executive communications officer and director of public relations, who will augment the communication initiatives of the team and highlight more alumni contributions through her role as editor of Mercyhurst Magazine. Through the news media, she will continue to showcase faculty, staff, and students while bringing external attention to university initiatives, particularly by cultivating experts from its niche programs.

Although public relations and advancement are often on the same university team, the career services and advancement offices have traditionally been separate—until recently. Knowing that producing positive career outcomes can have a significant effect on alumni giving, McCrimmon sought to integrate career services into the advancement realm, just recently adding Heather Balas, director of career services, and Frank Rizzone, employer relations specialist.

By combining career services and advancement, Mercyhurst is creating a community of students, alumni, and employers that facilitates meaningful connections, encourages relationship building, and provides comprehensive career development.

The new team members join Lindsay Frank, director, alumni engagement; Meaghan Hubert, director, donor relations; Ric Giles, gift officer; Amy Danzer, director, grant relations; Emily Williams, director, advancement services and prospect research; Dominic Fucci, coordinator, annual giving; and Cynthia Procopio, coordinator, advancement and mission.