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Announcing Swarthmore's Next Vice President for Advancement

Dear Students, Faculty, Staff Members, and Alumni,

I’m delighted to announce that Elizabeth Boluch Wood will join the College as Swarthmore’s next vice president for advancement. Liz emerged as the top candidate following an extensive national search that produced a diverse and competitive pool of well-qualified candidates.

Liz will bring to Swarthmore 35 years’ experience in higher education and nonprofit fundraising, including nearly two decades at Princeton University, where she ascended to the position of vice president for development in 2010. In that role, Liz led Princeton’s Aspire fundraising campaign, which raised $1.9 billion in support of the university’s mission. She left Princeton in 2016 to assume the role of chief development officer and associate director for communications and strategic partnerships at the Institute for Advanced Study (IAS), a world-renowned center for postdoctoral theoretical research and intellectual inquiry. During her five years at IAS, Liz initiated new fundraising and communications programs, including the Einstein Gala and the IAS Distinguished Journalism Fellowship program. She also headed up the Campaign for a Second Century and efforts to raise nearly $50 million in the 2020–21 academic year. 

In addition to Princeton and IAS, Liz managed programs and teams in fundraising and alumni relations at the Cancer Institute of New Jersey, Harvard University, Brown University, Simmons College, and Amherst College, where she earned her undergraduate degree in English language and literature, magna cum laude. As a volunteer for Amherst, Liz chaired the annual fund and the committee to nominate alumni trustees. 

At Swarthmore, Liz will guide our talented advancement team to support and expand a robust culture of philanthropy and alumni engagement. She will collaborate with colleagues across campus to understand the needs and priorities of the institution and conceive of creative and innovative strategies to inspire current and new donors.

Liz, who lives in Doylestown, Pa., with her husband and children, will officially join the College on June 7. I am excited to partner with her in service of advancing Swarthmore’s mission. Having worked with Liz at Princeton, I can attest to her deep appreciation for the liberal arts and its hallmarks of intellectual exploration and curiosity. 

I am grateful to Liam McAlpine for serving as interim vice president for advancement since last summer. It is a challenging role under ordinary circumstances, and Liam has done an extraordinary job of leading the advancement team through the challenges of COVID-19. I also want to thank the members of the search committee for the time and energy they invested in this successful search: 

  • Rhonda Resnick Cohen ’76, Board of Managers
  • Thom Collins ’88, Board of Managers
  • Andy Hirsch, Vice President for Communications
  • Landry Kosmalski, Head Coach, Men’s Basketball
  • Dave McElhinny ’75, Board of Managers
  • Nicole O’Dell Odim ’88, Board of Managers
  • Valerie Smith, President (chair)
  • Amy Cheng Vollmer, Isaac H. Clothier Jr. Professor of Biology

Finally, I am grateful to the faculty, students, staff, and alumni who met with the finalists and shared their impressions with me.

As we look forward to returning to a more normal experience in the fall, I hope you’ll find time to meet Liz and say hello in person. In the meantime, please join me in welcoming her to the Swarthmore community.


Val Smith