Lakewood, N.J., JANUARY 22, 2019—Veteran development and alumni relations expert Matthew Manfra will bring decades of experience and innovation to his new role as vice president for institutional advancement at Georgian Court University. His appointment follows a national search for a chief development officer to lead GCU’s fund-raising and alumni engagement operations.
“I have spent my advancement career ensuring that philanthropy was at the center of my professional contributions, and I welcome the opportunity to put those experiences to work for Georgian Court,” said Mr. Manfra.
“I was drawn to the university’s mission, its tradition of producing exceptional graduates, and GCU’s ambitious vision for the future,” he said. “It is a privilege to join GCU at this time in its history.”
Manfra Brings Broad Higher Ed Experience
Mr. Manfra, a graduate of The College of New Jersey, has worked in wide-ranging development and advancement roles throughout his career. His early years were spent as an alumni affairs director, and later in human resources, at TCNJ. He also worked at Syracuse University as their first assistant vice president for annual giving and alumni relations—two operations that are historically separate at most colleges and universities. He also worked at Rutgers University, where he was charged with engaging alumni leaders and donors around the world.
Most recently, though, Mr. Manfra served as interim vice president of advancement at the George Washington University, the largest higher education institution in the nation’s capital. There, he helped complete GW’s largest campaign—$1 billon—in collaboration with an exceptionally strong development staff and by incorporating data and predictive forecasting into the campaign strategy.
Strategic Initiatives Will Be an Early Focus for Manfra
Georgian Court will certainly benefit from Mr. Manfra’s varied experiences, says GCU President Joseph R. Marbach, Ph.D.
“Our new Strategic Compass, intended to guide decision making and growth at GCU, includes an emphasis on bolstering revenue streams and increasing alumni participation—from volunteering and event participation to charitable giving,” he adds.
Mr. Manfra, meanwhile, is eager to put the Strategic Compass to work.
“As someone who has been in the higher education space for my entire career, I have been trained in human resources and budget management and have been intimately involved in the creation of five strategic plans,” says Mr. Manfra, who has also provided extensive coaching and support to both volunteers and staff.
Those skills will be useful as Mr. Manfra begins work at GCU in early March. As the new vice president for institutional advancement, he will lead an advancement team that includes major giving, annual giving, alumni relations, and corporate and foundation relations.
“In addition to having broad experiences that complement our goals, Mr. Manfra also brings an appreciation for our mission and commitment to what matters most—our students and how we prepare them to contribute to a just and compassionate world,” says Dr. Marbach.
Founded in 1908 and sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy, Georgian Court University is Central and South Jersey’s only Catholic university. GCU is a comprehensive, coeducational university with a strong liberal arts core and a historic special concern for women. As a forward-thinking university that supports diversity and academic excellence, Georgian Court expands possibility for more than 2,400 students of all faiths and backgrounds in 35 undergraduate majors and 10+ graduate programs. In 2018, GCU was named a Best College for Your Money by Money Magazine. GCU has also been recognized by U.S. News & World Report and Colleges of Distinction and was one of about 100 colleges nationwide that made Phi Theta Kappa’s 2018 Transfer Honor Roll. The main campus is located in Lakewood, New Jersey, on the picturesque former George Jay Gould estate, a National Historic Landmark. Georgian Court, which is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, also serves students at other locations, such as GCU at Hazlet, GCU at Cumberland, and through multiple online certificate and degree programs.