Data Services Manager Embraces Full-Time Position  with The Wesleyan Fund

Marcy Herlihy will be promoted to associate director of Wesleyan Fund Internal Operations. She’s spent the past two years working with the fund and Data Services.
Posted 07/28/06
In just under five years at Wesleyan, Marcy Herlihy’s role has changed three times. Next month, her responsibilities will change again, all for the better of the university.

Herlihy was hired in October 2001 as the assistant director of The Wesleyan Annual Fund, which is now known as The Wesleyan Fund. Two years ago, she took over the role of manager of UR’s Data Services, but has continued to divide her time between data and fund responsibilities. When the newly-created position, manager of University Relations Information Systems is filled, Herlihy will become the associate director for the Wesleyan Fund Internal Operations, and support the Wesleyan Fund full-time.

“All of these changes have been good for the department and they’ve always been a good fit for me,” she says. “It’s a win-win situation for all.”

Since she currently splits her time between Data Services and The Wesleyan Fund, giving each one equal attention can be a challenge, Herlihy says.

For her Wesleyan Fund role, she spends a good deal of time in meetings with her UR and Office of University Communications colleagues, planning, scheduling and producing upcoming communication materials or working on the various Wesleyan Fund solicitation programs. For her Data Services role, she manages and oversees the maintenance of the alumni and parent database, manages donor records and oversees the processing of gifts and pledges. In addition, she maintains The Wesleyan Fund Web site and works with Wesleyan’s student Red & Black Society callers.

Deb Treister, director for University Relations Operations, works with Herlihy on a daily basis. They’ve developed an online giving Web page, a volunteer module in WesNet, and serve on the WesNet Committee together. WesNet is Wesleyan’s alumni online community.

“Marcy is the perfect colleague,” Treister says. “She’s extremely detail orientated and very pleasant to be around and work with. She has a great sense of humor, which can be very important in our line of work.”

It helps that she doesn’t have to split her location when she is splitting her time. The Wesleyan Fund, including Data Services, moved to its own building on Mt. Vernon St. in November 2005.

“It is wonderful that we have this new space, and we’re all together, and I love that I can finally be settled in one location,” she says from her sunny office that overlooks the Annual Fund calling area.

“It keeps me pretty busy,” she says, smiling.

Gifts that are made to The Wesleyan Fund are crucial for the entire university. The fund supports the university’s operating budget, which includes financial aid, staff and faculty salaries, the upkeep and maintenance of facilities and student services.

This year the Wesleyan Fund team raised $11.8 million, with 54 percent of alumni participation. But next year, since the university will look to rely less on its endowment, the team’s goal is to raise over $15 million.

“Raising $11.8 million was tough, and raising $15 million will be a lot of hard work, but I am optimistic that we can do this,” she says. “It would be so wonderful for the university.”

Herlihy is no stranger to the Wesleyan campus. She grew up in Portland, Conn., the town across the bridge from Middletown, and frequented the campus her entire life.

“When I was a child, I would take classes at Wesleyan Potters so I got to know some people from the Wesleyan community, and I also went to Wesleyan football games in the fall and of course I’d go sledding down Foss Hill in the winter,” she recalls. “With the exception of a few new buildings, campus looks pretty much the same as it did then.”

But “never in a million years” did Herlihy think she would end up working at Wesleyan.

Herlihy says a college job prompted her to want to work in a fund-raising field. As a student at the University of Vermont, she worked in that school’s development office and enjoyed it. After college, a friend of her family suggested she look into an open position at Wesleyan. Herlihy applied, and has been here ever since.

Ironically, Herlihy didn’t major in public relations or a fund-raising field. She graduated with a bachelor’s of science in horticulture and sustainable agriculture. Nevertheless, she continues to put her degree to work. At her home in Ivoryton, Conn., Herlihy and her husband, Rory, and golden retriever, Annie, spend an abundance of time in the yard.

“Gardening and landscaping are my biggest hobbies, and I love vegetable and perennial gardens,” she says. “But we also have been busy planting a funky shrub garden in front of our house. We used some interesting maples and unusual shrubs. My parents like to say I majored in a hobby.”

By Olivia Drake, The Wesleyan Connection editor