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The newspaper of The Johns Hopkins University May 22, 2006 | Vol. 35 No. 35
Michael Eicher Named VP for Development, Alumni Relations

Michael Eicher

By Dennis O'Shea

Successful fund raising is many things: An art. A science. The result of great skill. Sometimes, the result of great good luck.

One thing it is not, says Michael C. Eicher, is an individual sport.

"My underlying philosophy is that this is very much a team venture," said Eicher, appointed last week as vice president for development and alumni relations at Johns Hopkins. "It's about the quality of the academic initiatives, and the commitment of the leadership, the volunteers, the trustees, the faculty and staff.

"It's impossible to peel any one of those apart. It's about the whole," Eicher said. "What's fun about a job like mine is that you become kind of an orchestra leader. You get to try to lead all these folks who are playing this beautiful music together."

Eicher will join Johns Hopkins Sept. 1, leading the players — or calling the plays, if you prefer the team metaphor — for fund raising for both the university and Johns Hopkins Medicine. He will also have overall responsibility for strengthening relationships with alumni and other friends of Johns Hopkins.

He has spent nearly 20 years at the University of California, Los Angeles, where, as vice chancellor for external affairs, he and his team last year concluded Campaign UCLA, a 10-year effort that raised $3.05 billion. That was a record for U.S. universities, according to The Chronicle of Higher Education.

"The committee I charged with identifying [former vice president] Bob Lindgren's successor concluded that Mike Eicher is the right choice for Johns Hopkins," President William R. Brody said in an e-mail message announcing trustee approval of the appointment. "I fully concur, and am delighted that Mike has determined that Johns Hopkins is the right choice for him at this point in his career."

Eicher said that Brody himself was the major factor in that choice. "Bill Brody is one of the great university presidents in the country and has built a tremendous team of folks there," he said. "He is an extraordinary leader, and the opportunity to work with him is very, very exciting."

Eicher will assume leadership for the Johns Hopkins: Knowledge for the World campaign, an effort under way since 2000. Though it has already met its $2 billion overall goal, the campaign, announced as a seven-year effort, continues to solicit support for critical unmet needs, including student aid and faculty chairs, construction of hospital buildings and renovation projects such as Homewood's Gilman Hall.

"With Mike's arrival," Brody said in his message, "I know that Johns Hopkins will continue to make a strong and effective case for the vital work that you — our faculty, students, health care professionals and staff — do every day."

Eicher has been vice chancellor at UCLA since 1998 but has been with the univers- ity since 1986. He rose from associate director of development in the School of Medicine to deputy director and director, and from there to vice provost for medical science development, assistant and associate vice chancellor before landing his current job.

"I'm very excited about this opportunity," Eicher said. "Johns Hopkins is a stellar place, filled with wonderful people, and it's a great honor to join that team." Though he is, in many ways, sad to leave UCLA, he also believes this is the right time for him to depart.

"I've been here almost 20 years," he said in a telephone interview from his Westwood office. "The campaign was the culmination of my time here, but that's finished. It's time for different challenges. The opportunity to do this kind of work at another great institution — but one completely different from UCLA, a private institution on the East Coast — is just an exciting challenge."

Chancellor Albert Carnesale said Eicher's impact at UCLA will be felt "for generations to come."

"Mike's tenure at UCLA has been marked by bold vision, keen judgment, integrity and steady leadership," the chancellor wrote in an announcement to the campus community. "The partnerships he forged with academic officers and volunteers who give of their time, wisdom and resources allowed us to reach new heights in our advancement activities."

Eicher said he looks forward to establishing similarly productive relationships at Johns Hopkins. "I've known Bill Brody and Bob Lindgren and a lot of the team members at Johns Hopkins for a long time, and I have had the deepest respect for what's going on at Hopkins in development and alumni relations," he said. "There's a very high degree of teamwork. As I met with the deans and the other leadership, there seems to be something really special going on at Hopkins."


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