GW took its first step toward achieving University President Steven Knapp’s goal of increasing alumni relations by welcoming two new administrators upon the beginning of his tenure.
Adrienne Rulnick is serving the University as associate vice president for principal gifts in the division of Development, a position recently created, while John Kudless replaced Scott Mory as associate vice president for Alumni Relations and Annual Giving. Mory is now associate vice president for Alumni Relations at the University of Southern California.
Knapp said one of his major goals is to improve alumni relations, as the current state of alumni relations at GW does not reflect GW’s growing level of prestige. GW currently has an alumni giving rate of 11 percent.
“Alumni relations are important for GW’s goals and aspirations,” Knapp said. “In order to make GW stronger and more visible by improving facilities for research and providing financial aid for students, support from the wider community of alumni is needed.”
As associate vice president for alumni relations and annual giving, Rulnick oversees more than 20 Alumni Relations and Annual Giving staff members. She was formerly the executive director of alumni relations and development at New York University. During her five years as executive director in this capacity, annual gifts grew from $8 million to $22 million.
“Our goals are to encourage incoming and current students to think of themselves as alumni in training,” Rulnick wrote in an e-mail to The Hatchet. “We want individuals to take advantage of the GW network as students and then remain engaged with the University throughout their lives.”
Rulnick added that she will work diligently to enhance the two-way dialogue between alumni and the University and to showcase the lifetime of opportunities that GW provides. She said the dialogue will help inspire alumni to give back to the University.
As associate vice president for principal gifts, Kudless will help identify and establish relationships with donors who are interested in making seven figure or greater gifts to the University.
Kudless said the addition of his position is “a natural evolution for any development program and shows a sharpened and heightened focus on aspirations that will require philanthropic giving.”
Kudless served as executive director of principal gifts at the Johns Hopkins Institutions, vice president of development and alumni relations at Georgetown and as vice president for advancement at Virginia Commonwealth University.
Since 1999, Kudless has served as the senior executive vice president and managing director of Grenzebach, Glier and Associates, a consulting firm that specializes in philanthropic management and serves higher education institutions and cultural organizations.
Kudless said his job at Johns Hopkins prepared him for his position. He said he plans to “follow a similar model, but do it bigger and better at GW.”
Laurel Price Jones, vice president for Advancement, said Rulnick and Kudless, “share a tremendous amount of experience in their respective roles.”
“It is the first time in recent history GW has attracted people with so much experience who are excited to work with a new administration,” Price Jones said.
She added that, “Both Johns Hopkins University and New York University are inspirational schools for GW, and we are very excited to welcome them to GW.”