CORVALLIS, Ore. - The head of a $400 million capital campaign in Arizona has been named president of the Oregon State University Foundation.
Rebecca S. Cole, vice president of the Arizona State University Foundation and director of ASU's capital campaign, was tapped to direct the newly restructured OSU Foundation. She will succeed John Irving, the executive director of the foundation, who retired last summer after 33 years at OSU. Her appointment is effective April 1.
Cole will assume the leadership of a changing organization. Under a proposed consolidation plan, the OSU Foundation will serve as the umbrella organization for all university fund-raising activities as well as handle the investment of private gifts.
The OSU Foundation is a non-profit corporation established in 1947 to "aid and promote excellence in educational, research and charitable activities at Oregon State University." The foundation recently celebrated its 50th anniversary, having recorded nearly one-half billion dollars during that time. It lists assets of more than $335 million with annual gifts of nearly $40 million.
As president, Cole will report to the foundation's executive board of directors.
Oregon State University President Paul Risser praised Cole, saying she had critical experience as a fund-raiser and a manager of development activities.
"I am extremely pleased that Becky Cole has joined the OSU team as president of the OSU Foundation," Risser said. "She has a wealth of experience and success in university development - as a fund-raiser herself, and in leading a major university campaign of national significance.
"Under her leadership and with her expertise, our new integrated development organization under the foundation will provide excellent assistance to all those who so generously support Oregon State University," Risser added.
Under the new structure, Cole will have the responsibility for providing fund-raising leadership for the OSU Foundation, working with Risser and other university officials to match the organization's activities with university priorities.
"Initially, the top priority for the university is to raise money for student scholarships," said Cecil Drinkward, chairman of the board of trustees of the OSU Foundation. "We would like to help the university continue its successes in student recruitment and retention."
Drinkward said the foundation trustees, comprised primarily of civic and corporate leaders in the Pacific Northwest, will play a more active role in fund-raising on behalf of the university.
Cole has been at Arizona State University since 1995. She was put in charge of "The ASU Campaign for Leadership," which had an original campaign goal of $300 million increased to $400 million because of early successes.
While at ASU, she also worked closely with that university's deans and other administrators to create a more efficient fund-raising system. That process resulted in an $11 million gift by Motorola - the largest in ASU history.
Before going to ASU, Cole was vice president of development for the Blood Research Institute in Milwaukee, Wis., from 1993-95. She also spent four years at Michigan State University as senior development officer for MSU's human health programs.
Cole spent 16 years working in other development, community relations and planning positions for health and medical organizations in Michigan.
She is a 1973 graduate of Central Michigan University. Note to Editors: Dwayne Foley, senior vice president of Northwest Natural, served as chairman of the search committee. He is on the executive board of trustees of the OSU Foundation. He can be reached at 503-220-2578.