Concordia Alumni Relations Boss Quits

The woman responsible for raking in contributions from Concordia’s alumni for the past five years has called it quits.

Kathy Assayag, the university’s VP Advancement and Alumni Relations, also served as president of the Concordia University Foundation—the body that oversees Concordia University and eConcordia. She cited personal reasons for stepping down.

“Under Kathy’s guidance, our outreach to local, national and international alumni has resulted in greater recognition of Concordia,” said Concordia University President Judith Woodsworth. “Her fundraising on Concordia’s behalf has been an important part of the revitalization of our university.”

Assayag’s departure came as greater pressure was bearing down on her department. As part of her strategy to limit tuition increases and continue funding the physical expansion of the university, Woodsworth called for greater alumni contributions.

“We as a university need to raise money privately from our donors,” she said during an earlier interview with The Link. “We have done well raising money for bursaries and scholarships, but we need more, especially for graduate students.”

Despite the growth in contributions from alumni under Assayag’s watch, Woodsworth nonetheless identified what she called “a cultural problem” with private-based investment.

“In Canada, fundraising is much newer. When we phone our graduates we are told, ‘You expect me to give you money when I paid for my education?’ We get that attitude,” said Woodsworth.

Part of Assayag’s campaign to secure more alumni funding was through the establishment of alumni chapters around the world. New chapters in Dubai and Amman, Jordan were established over the summer.

“While Kathy Assayag’s departure is a setback, we have an excellent team in place and we’ll build on it to maintain continued success in our fundraising efforts. We remain committed to moving forward and stewarding the university’s relationships with its alumni and supporters,” concluded Woodsworth.

Dominique McCaughey, the principal director for Special Initiatives at the department of Advancement and Alumni Relations, will serve as the acting VP until a replacement is found.

The Concordia University Foundation will name a president at its Sept. 30 meeting.

This article originally appeared in Volume 31, Issue 06, published September 21, 2010.