UI Foundation picks its next president

UI Foundation picks its next president

URBANA — The University of Illinois Foundation has tapped a University of Chicago fundraiser to be its next president.

Thomas Farrell will replace Sidney Micek, who will continue to serve as the UI Foundation's president and CEO through December 2012.

Farrell, 50, is the former vice president for alumni relations and development at the University of Chicago. He will begin his new job at the UI Foundation on Jan. 1, 2013.

"Tom Farrell brings extensive experience, energy and commitment to higher education to the work of the University of Illinois Foundation," said Jane P. Donaldson, UIF board chair.

"He understands the critical importance of raising the necessary private funds for the university over the next decade to ensure its continued excellence and growth. We all look forward to his arrival and are delighted to have him with us," she said in a written statement.

Farrell said he's impressed by the university's public mission "and how well-positioned it is to help our state and country actively, and effectively, address some of our nation's most pressing challenges."

"Greater levels of philanthropy and stronger engagement with our community will be key elements in securing our future success. I want to be a part of making that happen," he said.

Farrell has two degrees from the University of Rochester and a doctorate in higher education management from the University of Pennsylvania. He began his career in higher education advancement at the University of Rochester in 1990, eventually becoming its director of the reunion major gifts program. He later held leadership positions at the University of Buffalo School of Law, Dartmouth College and University of Pennsylvania. At Penn, he was part of the planning team for its current $3.5 billion campaign.

In 2010, Farrell was named vice president for alumni relations and development at the University of Chicago, overseeing a staff of 450.

After he steps down as president, Micek, who has been at the head of the UI Foundation since 2000, will work for the foundation on a part-time basis.