Rochester-based Oakland University has announced the appointment of Michael J. Westfall to vice president for university advancement, effective March 1 pending board approval.
“I am delighted to welcome Michael Westfall to my cabinet to lead fundraising and alumni relations for OU,” says Ora Hirsch Pescovitz, president of Oakland University. “This is an exciting time as Michael joins us to take our advancement team to the next level.”
In his new position, Westfall will lead the university’s plans for advancement, reporting directly to the president and working closely with the provost, deans, and directors. Westfall will be responsible for all aspects of the university’s fundraising initiatives including the annual fund, major gifts, planned giving, special purpose fundraising, and other fundraising initiatives. He will develop targeted priorities, annual goals, and strategies for fundraising and engagement to expand the university’s visibility and importance among donors.
“I would like to thank Angie Schmucker for her exceptional contributions to development and alumni relations,” says Pescovitz. “After Michael settles into the vice presidency, Angie will become the associate vice president for university advancement.”
Senior vice president for academic affairs and provost, James P. Lentini, led the search committee, which was composed of six members of the campus community.
“As we conducted a national search and interviewed highly talented candidates who emerged from the pool, Michael’s career experience in academic institution fundraising really stood out to us,” says Lentini. “He has a proven track record of fundraising at both large and small schools and understands what it is going to take to elevate Oakland in both alumni engagement and philanthropic success.”
Before coming to Oakland, Westfall served as vice president for advancement and executive director of the foundation at Eastern Washington University (EWU), located in Cheney, Washington, for 11 years. There, he led the school’s foundation and advancement team of 30 professionals, setting several school records in philanthropy. He also oversaw an 80 percent increase in planned giving and grew the school’s endowment value to an all-time high with investment returns that ranked among the country’s best. Additionally, scholarship support to EWU students reached an all-time high in 2017. Westfall also served in the role of special assistant to the president for EWU-Spokane.
“My family and I are thrilled to return ‘home’ to Michigan to join and contribute to the OU community,” says Westfall. “I am excited to partner with President Pescovitz to create the vision and strategies for the next campaign effort.”
Before his time at EWU, Westfall served in fundraising positions of increasing responsibility, including at Radford University in Virginia, where he was associate vice president for university advancement and interim foundation executive director; at the University of Toronto in Ontario, Canada, where he was director of alumni advancement; and at Virginia Tech University in Blacksburg, Virginia, where he was director of annual giving. He brings with him experience in the areas of alumni relations, foundation management, marketing, and athletic department collaborations.
Westfall’s career in development began as an athletics annual giving development officer at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. He later moved to the role of associate director of annual giving programs at Michigan State University. He graduated from Indiana University, Bloomington, with a bachelor’s degree in general studies, and completed master’s degree work in athletic administration at Central Michigan University.
Within the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE), Westfall has held several leadership roles and won numerous awards. He has contributed to several articles published in CASE Currents, University Business, Successful Fundraising, and The New York Times, and has been a featured or keynote speaker at several advancement conference meetings over the years.