John Lippincott, president emeritus of the Council for Advancement and Support of Education, teaches a
Philanthropy and Development class.
Philanthropy and Development students return for summer session
Fundraisers, leaders and nonprofit professionals from across the country convened
on campus in July for the second summer chapter of the college's new Philanthropy
and Development master's degree program.
"It is so exciting to see the growth of this endeavor," said Jeff Lukken, Administrative
Director of Graduate and Degree Completion Programs. "We welcomed students this
year from all points of the compass – word is spreading about the quality of our
professors and courses."
Especially thrilling is the expansion of the faculty, he said, including John
Lippincott, president emeritus of the Council for Advancement and Support of Education.
"He is respected all over the world for his expertise and knowledge," Lukken said.
"He has spent his career helping schools, colleges and universities strengthen
their fundraising, alumni relations, communications and marketing operations. We
are so lucky to have him."
The quality of the professors impressed and inspired participants in the program.
"Having John Lippincott was huge," said Jim Caskey, vice president for advancement
at Goshen (Ind.) College. "But all of the professors are practitioners and researchers
who are actually working in the field. It's not just theory and books, we are learning
from their real experiences."
Kevin Callahan, chief development officer for a health system in Winchester, Va.,
"Many of the instructors have multiple decades of hands-on experience," he said.
"These people are educators but they are also fundraisers who understand the challenges
and opportunities of what we do. They have a huge amount of credibility and they
are really good teachers."
Other faculty members include Holly Hall from the Chronicle of Philanthropy; Dr.
JuliAnn Mazachek, president and CEO of Washburn University Foundation; renowned
development executive Dr. Tom Thomsen; Will Jones, Vice President for External
Relations at LaGrange; Dr. David Ahearn, religion professor and ethicist; Dr. Sharon
Livingston, education professor and researcher; and Nancy Brown, an independent
consultant in charitable estate planning.
Hall said there are many things that make the LaGrange program stand out.
"Students have the opportunity to interact with and learn from some of the most
influential professionals in the field," she said. "The classes are of a very manageable
size, so students get a lot of one-on-one attention. And there is no other program
like this in the Southeast."
Many of the students said they are receiving much more than they expected.
Jennifer Thomasson, director of development for a school in Ponte Vedra Beach,
Fla., said she initially thought the degree would just be something good to put
on her resume.
"But now I see what I do is so much deeper," she said. "It's completely turned
everything I thought I knew upside down. I feel like I'm a completely different
person after these two weeks."
Members of the first class have been so inspired by their studies that they wanted
to do something to give back.
|Members of the inaugural class of the Philanthropy and Development master's program are donating a tree to replace the one lost last year in a storm. Pictured are, front row, Elizabeth Ponder, Shanna Brumbelow, Sarah Swain, Wendell Clark, Erica Hart, Kathy McCollum and Jim Caskey; back row, Nick Beamenderfer, Kendal Wallace, Jackson Daniel, Nate Crawford and John Harrell.
"Last year, we purchased 'The Giving Tree,' a book by Shel Silverstein," said
Sarah Swain, director of giving at a college in North Carolina. "The tree's act
of selfless love and giving is symbolic of our work in the field of philanthropy.
"At the end of our first immersion session last summer, we each wrote words of
encouragement and advice for future Philanthropy and Development students. This
year, we shared the book with Cohort (Class) 2 and invited them to write their
words of inspiration in the book and pass it along to Cohort 3," she said. "We
hope this will be a tradition for our program."
They also wanted to give back to LaGrange College.
Last year, just before the first cohort arrived on campus, a giant oak tree next
to Smith Hall was felled by a strong windstorm. In the spirit of "The Giving Tree,"
the inaugural class will be replacing it with a crape myrtle.
"The tree represents our appreciation to the school for supporting us in our profession
and the field of philanthropy," Swain said.
The class also purchased a copy of "The Giving Tree" that they signed and donated
to Frank and Laura Lewis Library.
Jones said he is proud of what the students are accomplishing and is enthusiastic
about the future of the program.
"We have an accomplished faculty and a strong group of students," he said. "We
have fundraising leaders from California to Louisiana to Georgia and beyond. It
will be exciting to see how far our graduates will go in their careers with this
degree, and to see all of the good they will do around the world."