In tight financial times, college fundraising is more important than ever.
Parkland College has a huge hole to fill now that Carl Meyer, the executive director of school's foundation, has announced that he will soon be retiring.
Now 72, the energetic Meyer has been a driving force in the college's fundraising efforts since he took the job in 1997. Parkland officials say that Meyer has been instrumental in raising more than $25 million for a variety of endeavors, including student scholarships and new academic programs and equipment.
Meyer attributed his success at Parkland to salesmanship. But it takes more than a smile and shoe-shine to persuade people to part with big sums of money.
Fundraisers need something to sell — a vision that meets a donor's desire, like scholarships for needy students — and the personal credibility to instill confidence that the donor's desires will be met.
Of course, being the executive director of the Parkland Foundation isn't the first big job Meyer held.
He started as a college football coach before moving into raising funds for the University of Illinois' athletic department. From there, he moved to athletic administration at the universities of Arizona and Cincinnati and then into private business.
He brought a strong work ethic and tremendous people skills to each stop along the road. Indeed, Meyer is so good that Parkland was fortunate to get him.
Now, unfortunately, Parkland has to replace him. That will be tough, but at least Parkland officials will know exactly what they're looking for.