Pelzel announces plans to retire

by Erin Landau | 1/5/12 11:00pm

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Carrie Pelzel, senior vice president of advancement, will retire from the College in June after spending 15 years in the administration.
by Maggie Rowland / The Dartmouth

Pelzel, who began her career at Dartmouth as director of development under former President James Wright in 1997, said her decision to retire was based on her husband's recent departure from his consulting firm and her desire to spend more time with her family.

"Now Dartmouth is in the strategic planning process, and at some point the College is likely to launch another campaign, and so looking at my own family situation, I'm not going to sign on for another seven-year campaign," Pelzel said. "The logical move is to see the next team in so that they can plan and execute the new campaign."

Pelzel has played an "exceptional" role in the College's advancement and her "fingerprints can be found on many programs and initiatives across the campus," Kim said in the email.

As Senior Vice President of Advancement, Pelzel oversees alumni relations, development and fundraising, communications for the College and volunteer leadership, she said.

"What my job really means is that every day I think about the reputation and standing of the institution, how we communicate Dartmouth's strengths to the world, how we can engage Dartmouth alumni, parents and students, and how to make sure Dartmouth is still one of the best institutions in the world," she said.

During her time at Dartmouth, Pelzel worked as director of development until creating the Advancement Division at Kim's request.

Kim's focus on scholarship and engagement on both national and international levels has helped energize alumni relations surrounding his core mission, she said.

"Because so much of what goes on in development is about building good relations with alumni and parents and communicating in a way that informs and inspires, it was natural to ask [Pelzel] to lead the Advancement Division, an initiative to find greater synergy among our offices of alumni relations, development and public affairs," Kim said in the email.

Pelzel said that during her years at Dartmouth, intense discussions between the alumni and the College about sensitive policies have sometimes made her work challenging.

"Fostering really open, honest communication is a high priority and, from time to time, it has been challenging when the administration takes a stand or passes a new policy," she said. "If it in some way seems to contradict the experience that alumni had when they were here, that can lead to debate and discussion. I think the role of advancement is to make that conversation as rich, vibrant and clear as possible."

Pelzel and her staff have initiated many new multimedia programs to support faculty and students, including webcasts, plans for a redesigned website and the new Dartmouth for Life alumni program, according to Kim.

"Where duplicative functions once existed, there is now an integrated group of professionals in events management, communications, information technology, human resources and finance that supports the entire division," Kim said.

Pelzel said that she has cherished her time at Dartmouth and feels proud to witness how the academic divisions have improved the learning environment for students, she said.

"This has not been a job, it has been a life," Pelzel said. "It's not a place of work, it's a community. Even though I'm retiring from Dartmouth, I'm an adopted member of the Class of '54, and I always will be. It has been an extraordinary privilege to have worked for 15 years at Dartmouth."