Elizabeth Dale has a love for fishing and for luring in big bucks from academic donors.
Landing a big education donor requires knowing that persons passion, says Dale, a finalist vying for Winthrop Universitys presidential post.
For more than a decade, Dale has been reeling in both big bucks and big fish.
Dales surf casting fishing hobby, she said, is actually harder than her job of raising millions for Drexel University, a research school in Philadelphia.
No question about it, she said. You can be very strategic in finding your donors and there are just so many variables when youre fishing--its the weather, its the tides.
After spending six years as Drexels top fundraiser, Dale said she wants to bring her talents to Winthrop. Shes one of four finalists to succeed Winthrop President Anthony DiGiorgio, who is retiring at the end of this academic year.
Dale is the second of the finalists to visit Winthrop for three days of meetings and interviews. Her last set of meetings was Friday.
My philosophy is that if you can uncover the real strengths, the differentiating programs and initiatives and achievements of a university...and if you match someone with great passion for an initiative, then they will invest, she said.
They can realize their vision for their passion through the university--thats how I believe Winthrop can secure individual philanthropic support.
Dale raised $81 million for Drexel in the last fiscal year--a record-breaking figure for the schools fundraising arm.
I am very impressed by (Winthrop), Dale said.
I think its just permeated with quality--quality faculty, quality students and just a beautiful campus.
Having spent most of her career in Massachusetts and Pennsylvania, Dale said she enjoys the South and has been to South Carolina many times to visit Drexels benefactors.
At breakfast Friday morning with some of Rock Hills community leaders, Dale tried grits for the first time and really enjoyed it, she said.
Dale spoke Friday on several issues in higher education and what shed do as president at Winthrop University:
Should Winthrop have a football team?
I think what Winthrop needs is to find here in South Carolina its own T. Boone Pickens, Dale said.
Pickens is chairman of BP Capital Management. An alumni of Oklahoma State University, Pickens has given more than $400 million to the school, and the majority of the money has gone to athletics. His contributions helped OSU build its athletic village and to support its football program.
We need to find a T. Boone Pickens that will write a check for $30 million so if Winthrop chose to do this, they could do it right and thered be an endowment to sustain it, Dale said.
I am well aware of the cost involved, she said. Not only the cost for facilities. You need your stadium to play in, you need a practice field, you need training facilities and you need to match what youre doing with Title IX gender equity requirements.
How much importance does she place on liberal arts, cultural events and the arts?
Making art and cultural programming available at Winthrop gives students a well-rounded college experience, she said.
Winthrops commitment to cultural education, Dale said, is impressive.
If chosen as Winthrops president, Dale said shed like to have student and faculty-produced artwork on the first floor of the campus Presidents House.
A liberal arts education in general, she said, improves the chances of graduates entering the workforce.
Employers want students who have learned about working in teams, understand others perspectives and who have the ability to assimilate to new environments, Dale said.
What does she think about Gov. Nikki Haleys plan to allocate taxpayer dollars to universities based on a colleges performance?
Before commenting specifically on Haleys proposal, Dale shed like to learn more about the current distribution of tax dollars in South Carolina.
I know from my previous experience in higher education that if metrics are set out and they are metrics that can be understood and achievable and part of the institutional culture, that, in some ways, may level the playing field and take politics out of the equation.
If chosen as Winthrops president, how long would she stay?
I would stay until the job was done, Dale said.
If you look at my career, I stayed at the University of Massachusetts for over 20 years. And when I joined Drexel in 2006, I committed to stay until the campaign was completed.
We launched the campaign in December (2006) and the stock market soon imploded. And so we faced tough macro-economic situations.
Dale is the leader of a Drexel campaign to raise $400 million. Her fundraising goal, she said, is almost complete with just about $13 million left to go.
I fulfill the commitments that I make.
How would she increase Winthrops donor base?
Current position: Senior vice president for institutional advance at Drexel University in Philadelphia
Before arriving at Drexel, Dale served as vice chancellor for University Advancement at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She was the founding executive director of the UMass Amherst Foundation.
Education: Masters degree in public administration and a doctorate in educational policy, research and administration from UMass Amherst