Vice President Bayer leaves for Duke after 10 years at Swat

Stephen Bayer will become Duke University's Associate Vice President of Development. (Courtesy of today.duke.edu)
Stephen Bayer will become Duke University’s Associate Vice President of Development. (Courtesy of today.duke.edu)

In August, Stephen Bayer, Swarthmore’s former Vice President for Development and Alumni Relations announced he was resigning to accept a similar position at Duke University.

Bayer was hired as Associate Vice President of Development at Duke, a position that entails increased responsibilities for him: he will head a staff approximately three times the size of his staff at Swarthmore. He begins work at Duke on October 1.

Bayer’s departure was timed carefully to coincide with the nadir of his schedule of responsibility as Vice President — the time before Swarthmore’s next capital campaign begins.

He left before the campaign had begun to get under way.

Students have recently started off the upcoming campaign with their contributions to the Strategic planning document.

Capital campaigns are one of the primary responsibilities of Bayer’s former position.

Campaigns are essentially fundraising drives which canvas alumni for donations toward projects the school has identified to improve the school — new dorms, increases in financial aid and faculty are generally paid for by the most recent fundraising campaign. The last campaign here, called The Meaning of Swarthmore, paid to build the new David Kemp dormitories.

“It paid to build the Science Center,” said Connie Baxter, Administrative Coordinator in Development. “It paid to build the new Education Center at the Scott Arboretum. These were all priorities of the last campaign.”

The Meaning of Swarthmore campaign ended successfully, finishing 3 months early and receiving $15 million more than its goal, but Bayer knew that if he wanted to seek out further opportunities, he would have to act soon.

He understood the disruption he would cause if he waited until mid-campaign before moving on; moreover, he knew that the chance to move on without causing a disturbance in fundraising wouldn’t come again soon.

The last campaign had raised $245 million, and that much money can’t be raised quickly.

“You have to plan about between seven and nine years out on how you’re going to raise that money,” Baxter said. Bayer is young, with daughters in second and fourth grades. The time was ripe for a move. “If he didn’t make a move now, then by the time the next campaign was over he might not want to make one,” Baxter said.

Bayer’s career at Swarthmore began in 2001, when he was hired as Associate Director for Planned Giving. As the campaign grew and developed, so did his responsibilities.

Bayer “held a number of increasingly responsible positions, including Director of Capital Giving, Director of Leadership Giving and Director of Development, before being named, after a national search in 2008, as Vice President for Development and Alumni Relations,” said Rebecca Chopp, Swarthmore’s President, in a released statement.

Resumes are currently being accepted from Bayer’s would-be replacements. The college has hired a consultant from the firm Storbeck/Pimentel & Associates to assist in the search. The new consultant will join another consultant from the firm currently at Swarthmore who is overseeing the search for a new Vice President of Human Resources.

Storbeck/Pimentel & Associates has asked that applications be turned in by October 15.

Several resumes have already been submitted, according to Baxter. The college hopes to offer an applicant the position by the end of this calendar year.

Though there are, of course, high hopes for a successful search, Bayer’s colleagues noted that in Bayer, Swarthmore had lost a positive personality well suited to alumni relations.

“We lose his enthusiasm, his desire to be connected with the people who are this institution,” said Stu Hain, Vice President for Facilities and Services, who attended meetings of the President’s staff with Bayer, where they discussed the direction of the college. “He was a really gracious, affable person, which I think makes him ideal to interact with alumni,” Hain said.

President Chopp elaborated on that in her announcement of Bayer’s departure, saying “Steven’s determination, highly collaborative nature, and leadership skills have contributed to his success both on campus, and among alumni. We will miss Stephen as a colleague, friend, and champion of Swarthmore and wish him the best as he pursues the next promising opportunity.”

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