|In just under five
years at Wesleyan, Marcy Herlihy’s role has changed three times. Next month,
her responsibilities will change again, all for the better of the
Herlihy was hired in October 2001 as the assistant director of The Wesleyan
Annual Fund, which is now known as The Wesleyan Fund. Two years ago, she
took over the role of manager of UR’s Data Services, but has continued to
divide her time between data and fund responsibilities. When the
newly-created position, manager of University Relations Information Systems
is filled, Herlihy will become the associate director for the Wesleyan Fund
Internal Operations, and support the Wesleyan Fund full-time.
“All of these changes have been good for the department and they’ve always
been a good fit for me,” she says. “It’s a win-win situation for all.”
Since she currently splits her time between Data Services and The Wesleyan
Fund, giving each one equal attention can be a challenge, Herlihy says.
For her Wesleyan Fund role, she spends a good deal of time in meetings with
her UR and Office of University Communications colleagues, planning,
scheduling and producing upcoming communication materials or working on the
various Wesleyan Fund solicitation programs. For her Data Services role, she
manages and oversees the maintenance of the alumni and parent database,
manages donor records and oversees the processing of gifts and pledges. In
addition, she maintains The Wesleyan Fund Web site and works with Wesleyan’s
student Red & Black Society callers.
Deb Treister, director for University
Relations Operations, works with Herlihy on a daily basis. They've developed
an online giving Web page, a volunteer module in WesNet, and serve on the
WesNet Committee together. WesNet is Wesleyan's alumni online community.
"Marcy is the perfect colleague," Treister
says. "She's extremely detail orientated and very pleasant to be around and
work with. She has a great sense of humor, which can be very important in
our line of work."
It helps that she doesn’t have to split her location when she is splitting
her time. The Wesleyan Fund, including Data Services, moved to its own building on
Mt. Vernon St. in November 2005.
“It is wonderful that we have this new space, and we’re all together, and I
love that I can finally be settled in one location,” she says from her sunny
office that overlooks the Annual Fund calling area.
“It keeps me pretty busy,” she says, smiling.
Gifts that are made to The Wesleyan Fund are crucial for the entire
university. The fund supports the university’s operating budget, which
includes financial aid, staff and faculty salaries, the upkeep and
maintenance of facilities and student services.
This year the Wesleyan Fund team raised $11.8 million, with 54 percent of
alumni participation. But next year, since the university will look to rely
less on its endowment, the team’s goal is to raise over $15 million.
“Raising $11.8 million was tough, and raising $15 million will be a lot of
hard work, but I am optimistic that we can do this,” she says. “It would be
so wonderful for the university.”
Herlihy is no stranger to the Wesleyan campus. She grew up in Portland,
Conn., the town across the bridge from Middletown, and frequented the campus
her entire life.
“When I was a child, I would take classes at Wesleyan Potters so I got to
know some people from the Wesleyan community, and I also went to Wesleyan
football games in the fall and of course I’d go sledding down Foss Hill in
the winter,” she recalls. “With the exception of a few new buildings, campus
looks pretty much the same as it did then.”
But “never in a million years” did Herlihy think she would end up working at
Herlihy says a college job prompted her to want to work in a fund-raising
field. As a student at the University of Vermont, she worked in that
school’s development office and enjoyed it. After college, a friend of her
family suggested she look into an open position at Wesleyan. Herlihy
applied, and has been here ever since.
Ironically, Herlihy didn’t major in public relations or a fund-raising
field. She graduated with a bachelor’s of science in horticulture and
sustainable agriculture. Nevertheless, she continues to put her degree to
work. At her home in Ivoryton, Conn., Herlihy and her husband, Rory, and
golden retriever, Annie, spend an abundance of time in the yard.
“Gardening and landscaping are my biggest hobbies, and I love vegetable and
perennial gardens,” she says. “But we also have been busy planting a funky
shrub garden in front of our house. We used some interesting maples and
unusual shrubs. My parents like to say I majored in a hobby."