General Seminary Merges Advancement and Communications Offices
President to Head New Office Joined by Associate VP and Three Staffers
December 3, 2010
New York City –In the interest of making its administration more effective, The General Theological Seminary (GTS) will merge the Communications Office with the school’s Department of Institutional Advancement, Seminary President Lang Lowrey recently announced. The new department will be called the Office of External Relations, a title the Seminary used in the 1980s for an office encompassing similar responsibilities. The new Office of External Relations will have responsibility for development, communications, alumni/ae affairs, and marketing Seminary programs. It will also oversee the Chelsea Square Conservancy, a group of Seminary friends and donors formed around preserving the Seminary’s historic grounds as well as the GTS Media Workshop, which makes recordings of GTS programs, including sermons from the Chapel, available on the Internet.
“Because fundraising is so critical to the mission of our school and will require my involvement,” said President Lowrey in making the announcement, “I will myself be providing primary oversight of this new department.” Charles Knapp, Vice President of Institutional Advancement and Alumni/ae Relations, Lowrey explained, has agreed to assist with the transition in leadership until the end of 2010. “Charles will be departing GTS on January 1 with our deep appreciation for the work he has done here,” said Lowrey. “In the face of troubling news about the finances of GTS last year, Charles and his team none-the-less raised an impressive amount for the Seminary’s Annual Fund—a figure that has set a recent high water mark in General’s history. I am very grateful to Charles for agreeing to remain with us to provide a smooth transition.”
The day-to-day operations of the new Office of External Relations will be headed up by Bruce Parker, former Executive Director of Communications who, with the merger, has been promoted to Associate Vice President for External Relations and Alumni/ae Affairs. A 1984 graduate of GTS, Parker has served the Seminary for the past 17 years and is the Seminary’s most senior staff member. “While his primary area of expertise will serve the communications and marketing side of the new office,” said Lowrey, “Bruce will also draw upon his many years of working in close collaboration with development. He has been intimately involved in planning and creating support materials for many of our fundraising efforts including the last capital campaign.” Before joining the GTS staff in 1993, Parker served as a communications consultant to Washington National Cathedral, to Trinity Church Wall Street, and to the national offices of the Episcopal Church, and in this capacity provided support to many fundraising efforts.
In addition to Parker, the new External Relations team will consist of Senior Advancement Officer Donna Ashley, a 2006 graduate of the Seminary, and Director of Development Don Temples. “Donna has done excellent work for GTS and Don has also served us with distinction,” said Lowrey. “I am looking forward to directing the efforts of this promising new department at GTS.”
Also as part of the restructuring, Lowrey announced that Chad Rancourt, who has served for the last seven years as Media Coordinator in the Communications Office, will advance to the position of Director of Communications in the new Office of External Relations. A communications veteran with significant experience on Wall Street and in the advertising industry, Rancourt has been responsible for establishing a consistent graphics branding for the Seminary and for taking a key role in marketing Seminary programs.
Although the new office will also continue to provide a number of specialized production services, some internal support services previously provided by the Communication Office may need to be curtailed or appropriated to other GTS units. Similarly, the new office will maximize its efforts by accelerating the move to electronic communications and away from those venues that require paper. The move to electronic communications is both a cost consideration as well as a statement about stewardship of the environment. “I have met several times with the new External Relations staff and am excited by the synergy that I feel will be generated by this very talented group of people,” said President Lowrey in concluding the announcement. “Two members of the team are alums of GTS and all four have made significant contributions to the Seminary over the years.”
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Associate Vice President for External Relations and Alumni/ae Affairs
The General Theological Seminary
175 Ninth Avenue, New York, NY 10011
(212) 243-5150 x285,