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Fueling the Fund

SDSU welcomes the new associate vice president for development, Joanne Ferchland-Parella.
Ferchland-Parella will work with college deans, volunteers and donors.
Ferchland-Parella will work with college deans, volunteers and donors.

Students aren't the only ones attracted by San Diego State University's entrepreneurial reputation.

Joanne Ferchland-Parella, the new associate vice president for development, also found the university's entrepreneurial characteristics and "ambitious vision" appealing.

"It's such an exciting time as a university comes to national prominence," said Ferchland-Parella, who said she enjoyed that experience during her time at the University of Maryland College Park.

Her most recent position was as vice president of institutional advancement at Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

An outstanding reputation

She said SDSU’s reputation for academic quality is known on the East Coast.  “The credentials of the faculty are impressive,” she said. “The caliber of the students is really exciting.”

Ferchland-Parella began work on May 14.  She works closely with Vice President of University Relations and Development Mary Ruth Carleton and with college deans, volunteers and donors.

“I like to say that I help to get the fuel for the engine,” said Ferchland-Parella, who has worked in development for both public and private universities. 

She said that private universities often do a better job in developing a culture of philanthropy among current students and in keeping them engaged with the university after graduation.

Public universities, she said, face “a public perception that ‘my tax dollar pays for all the needs of a public university.’  It doesn’t.”

Campaigning for a cause

Ferchland-Parella arrives at a time when the university’s first comprehensive fund-raising campaign, The Campaign for SDSU, has raised $315 million of its $500 million goal. 

The public phase of the campaign includes reconnecting with alumni and friends who may not be up to date on the university’s current needs and keeping staffers and volunteers energized.

“The SDSU community proves every day that ‘Leadership Starts Here,’ and it is no different in University Relations and Development,” said Carleton. “It was important for the university to fill the vacant position of Associate Vice President for University Development so that the momentum generated by The Campaign for SDSU and other development efforts does not falter or flag.”

“Joanne’s success in helping build strong development programs — and strong development teams — at seven universities and colleges shows she has the skills to help take the Campaign for SDSU to the $500 million mark.”

Maximizing potential

Ferchland-Parella — whose husband, Michael, and daughters, Emma, 16, and Maya, 13, arrive here in mid-June — said in the next year her team will make a concerted effort to maximize the number of people who have the ability to make transformational gifts and have them meaningfully engaged with the university.

“I love what I do,” she said. “When I retire … I will be proud to say that I will have done a lot of good for people and made their educations possible.”

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