Tag Archive for Office of Advancement

Fontanella Ebstein Reflects on 30 Years at Wesleyan

(By Ann Bertini)

Gemma Fontanella Ebstein is leaving her role as Wesleyan’s Associate Vice President for Advancement at the end of December, following a 30-year career at the University.

During her tenure, Fontanella Ebstein has helped the Office of Advancement expand and foster lifelong alumni and parent loyalty and support for Wesleyan. An important part of this work has come through facilitating local and global events, and overseeing the merging of Reunion and Commencement weekends (2000) and Homecoming with Family Weekend (1995). Fontanella Ebstein also led University Communications and the Gordon Career Center through leadership transitions, and has helped cultivate a culture of Wesleyan pride among her teams and anywhere her work has taken her.

“My entire time at Wesleyan has been spent under Gemma’s leadership and tutelage,” said Director of Special Events Deana Hutson, whom Fontanella Ebstein hired 21 years ago to help centralize Reunion and Commencement. “I have learned so much from her—from her innate ability to problem-solve through collaboration to the importance of empowering her team in a way that is genuine, nurturing, and respectful. I am so appreciative of how much she has contributed to my experience at Wesleyan and for the friendship that resulted from this journey.”

University Relations Debuts New Name, Moves Offices to Main Street with Financial Services

Office of Advancement

The Office of Advancement, formerly University Relations, has moved to 291 Main Street, allowing all staff members to work together in one location. The building also contains the Finance Office. Constructed in 1916, the building housed the Middletown post office until 1977 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It was previously owned and used by Liberty Bank.

Wesleyan’s fundraising arm, the Office of University Relations, now has a new name—and a new home.

Effective Aug. 1, University Relations was renamed the Office of Advancement, which reflects the evolution of the team’s work as they refine their focus and prepare for the next campaign, and aligns with industry standards.

“Of course, the staff’s commitment to the Wesleyan community and to engaging alumni, parents, and students in the life of the University remains unchanged,” said Frantz Williams ’99, vice president for advancement. “We’re all excited for this new chapter!”

During the summer the advancement staff relocated to 291 Main Street, the former Middletown Post Office building. Bringing together advancement team members from four campus locations facilitates collaboration and provides an opportunity for increased synergy.

While the Advancement team occupies the first and second floor of the renovated office space, the majority of Wesleyan’s Finance Office tenants the third floor. Financial Services, including payroll, purchasing and procurement, auxiliary operations, accounts payable, financial planning, grants, and the purchasing card office are among the services that relocated to Main Street.