Joseph E. Buck, currently the associate dean of advancement at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business, has been appointed Lehigh’s vice president for development and alumni relations.
Buck, who has served in key development roles at three different universities and most recently led a successful $850 million fundraising campaign at Booth, will arrive at Lehigh on Aug. 31. He will assume leadership of the advancement team from deputy vice president John Welty, who has led the department on an interim basis since February.
“I am thrilled and honored to be joining the Lehigh community at such a key moment in the university’s history,” said Buck, a Philadelphia native who has been at Chicago since 2007. “There is a palpable sense of excitement and promise around Lehigh today, and I look forward to working with the leadership team, my advancement staff and everyone in the campus community to help make this already great university even stronger.”
“When we set out to find a new leader for our advancement team, we knew we needed not just a proven and capable fundraiser, but also a forward-thinking individual who would share our collective enthusiasm for and belief in the great potential of Lehigh,” said Lehigh President John Simon. “That’s precisely the kind of leader we’ve found in Joe. He’s made a tremendous and lasting impact at Chicago, and we believe he’ll make a similarly profound impact here at Lehigh.”
At Booth, Buck led the 50-person development team tasked with raising $850 million as part of Chicago’s $4.5 billion capital campaign. As associate dean, he developed, implemented and executed strategic plans to achieve key university fundraising objectives; oversaw the creation of a capital fundraising plan for Booth’s $75 million Hong Kong campus; created a new principal gifts team to expand the school’s fundraising capacity; and initiated a leadership annual giving program that resulted in a 43 percent increase in unrestricted gifts over the course of a five-year period.
Previously at Chicago, Buck served as the university’s assistant vice president for individual giving. In that role, he developed and executed programs aimed at meeting university goals for privately contributed gifts from individuals and families. His efforts helped boost giving 34 percent in just the first year of his tenure. Before his time at Chicago, Buck served as a major gifts officer at the Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania, and as director of major gifts at LaSalle University.
“Joe’s remarkable record of success in the world of development and his obvious enthusiasm for Lehigh make him an outstanding choice to lead our advancement team,” said Kevin L. Clayton ’84 ’13P, vice chair of the Lehigh Board of Trustees. “Lehigh is fortunate to have recruited such a talented, respected and accomplished professional. We are proud to welcome him to the Lehigh family.”
Buck earned both his B.S. in marketing and a Master’s of Education from St. Joseph’s University, and spent a year earlier in his career teaching English in China.
At Lehigh, he will oversee the 100-person advancement team, which works to support the university through its wide-ranging alumni engagement, fundraising and development efforts. Working in coordination with Simon and the university leadership team, Buck will develop new strategies to help Lehigh maximize its impact on the community and world, and will also lead all efforts surrounding the university’s upcoming capital campaign.
Buck said that he looked forward not just to his new role at Lehigh, but also to being back home near Philadelphia after several years in Chicago. The combination of personal and professional opportunity, he said, was simply too good to pass up.
"I feel very positive about working with John and everyone else at Lehigh, because during all of my interviews and meetings throughout this process, I really did see a shared sense of enthusiasm for where the university is headed," he said. "The leaders and trustees all have great ambitions for Lehigh. When you put this wonderful professional opportunity together with a chance to move back near family, it's just something that we are all very excited about."