Campus News

Oberlin College Appoints Michael Grzesiak Vice President for Advancement

November 15, 2019

Communications Staff

Michael Grzesiak
Michael Grzesiak, vice president for advancement.
Photo credit: Tanya Rosen-Jones ’97

Following an extensive national search, Michael Grzesiak has been appointed vice president for advancement at Oberlin College. He will begin his new role on January 1 pending approval by the Board of Trustees. Grzesiak succeeds Rachel Smith Silver, who has served as interim vice president for development and alumni affairs after the retirement of Bill Barlow.

As Oberlin’s top advancement officer, Grzesiak will provide guidance and leadership that will engage a new generation of donors, while expanding and strengthening a sustainable infrastructure to support future fundraising efforts. “I am happy to welcome Michael as vice president for advancement,” says President Carmen Twillie Ambar. “He brings a wealth of expertise in higher education that will be exceptionally valuable to Oberlin as we work to position the institution for long-term financial success.”

Grzesiak brings to Oberlin senior leadership experience in the higher education and the charitable foundation arenas. Most recently, he served as vice president for development and alumni engagement and chief of staff at Washington & Jefferson College in Washington, Pennsylvania. During his 13-year tenure at the institution, he led a $100 million campaign to raise funds for the school’s endowment, capital improvements, and the annual fund. He also directed fundraising efforts for the sciences and raised more than $32 million toward the construction of a new science center. Prior to that role, he worked as director of gift planning at The Cleveland Foundation, where he provided leadership for fundraising activities.

Grzesiak is a Northeast Ohio native and graduated from Hiram College. He later attended Indiana University where he earned a master’s degree in philanthropic studies.

“I am honored to join the Oberlin College community and to work with faculty, staff, alumni, friends, and students to help this vital institution continue to thrive,” says Grzesiak. “Oberlin College holds a unique place in higher education with its mission, history, and successes, and its position as the vanguard for inclusiveness and education excellence is unquestionable. I am also excited to work with President Ambar and the campus community to achieve the vision of One Oberlin to ensure a strong future.”

About Oberlin College and Conservatory

Ranked among the nation’s top liberal arts schools, Oberlin College and Conservatory is committed to academic rigor, artistic and musical excellence, and civil engagement in support of a just and equitable world. Founded in 1833, Oberlin was the first college in America to adopt a policy to admit students of color and to award degrees to women in a coed program. Oberlin’s history of academic achievement has led its forward-leaning graduates to challenge conventions and to create meaningful positive change in the world.

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