Robert Schlesinger, an experienced professional in university development and alumni relations, joined Rensselaer on Oct. 1 as the vice president for institute advancement. The announcement was made Sept. 19 by President Shirley Ann Jackson.
“Mr. Schlesinger brings a wealth of high-level experience in advancement, as well as a global view that will enhance Rensselaer’s continuing transformation as an institution of global reach,” President Jackson said. “His alumni relations expertise and his depth and breadth of experience in fundraising will be integral in ensuring the continued success of the Institute by fostering the relationships that will bring new levels of philanthropic support to Rensselaer, its people, and its programs.”
As the vice president for institute advancement, Schlesinger will lead efforts to plan, coordinate, and implement fundraising and relationship-building programs with Rensselaer students, faculty, alumni, parents, friends, corporations, and foundations. He will foster efforts to build upon existing successes and foster new efforts that fund scholarships, programs, fellowships, professorships, research, campus renovations, and new facilities. His efforts will be built on the foundation put in place in The Rensselaer Plan, which was launched by President Jackson early in her presidency.
Schlesinger brings more than 23 years of advancement experience to the position, and will continue the momentum set by the $1.4 billion comprehensive fundraising effort, Renaissance at Rensselaer: The Campaign for Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
Schlesinger has a wide-ranging background in development that spans academia and a variety of nonprofit organizations. He was most recently chief endowment officer and director of advancement and alumni at Singapore Management University (SMU) from 2004 to 2007, helping to build the fundraising and alumni relations foundation for this new university. Prior to SMU, he was director of development and membership at the Zoological Society of San Diego from 2000 to 2004. At the Zoological Society, he raised over $40 million each year and managed a staff of 45.
In addition, he spent a decade in the advancement program at the University of California, Berkeley, as both a planned giving counsel and director of planned giving and foundation counsel from 1990 to 2000, helping the university reach its $1.2 billion campaign goal. He also has consulted with numerous other nonprofit organizations, building and enhancing advancement efforts.
Schlesinger is a cum laude graduate of Harvard University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in 1984 in psychology and social relations. He also earned a J.D. at the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law in 1993 and served as president of his class. His wife, Agnes, is a certified public accountant with a master’s degree in taxation.
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