MIT President Susan Hockfield has announced that Barbara G. Stowe, vice president for resource development, will retire at the end of the academic year, after 11 years as vice president and nearly 25 years at MIT.
In making the announcement at the annual meeting of the Corporation Development Committee on Tuesday, Nov. 15, Hockfield said, "Barbara's vision of MIT's fund-raising aspirations has transformed our place in the philanthropic universe. She has done so with a deep institutional and personal wisdom that has guided senior officers and the resource development staff in setting strategies and making the best possible case for the Institute. The extraordinary success of the Campaign for MIT is an example of how she helped us raise the bar and then exceed even that goal. Perhaps most importantly, she has kept us true to the underlying spirit of philanthropy -- which is based on shared values and trust."
Noting that Stowe had postponed her retirement plans for several months, Hockfield said, "Barbara very kindly agreed to stay on for a longer period than she had originally intended, to introduce me to fund raising at MIT, including visits with some of our most generous benefactors. I am extraordinarily grateful for her willingness to do so, and for her guidance in this and many other facets of MIT."
Stowe joined MIT in 1981 as director of health sciences development, after several years of fund-raising work at research universities and health-care organizations. In 1986 she became assistant dean for resource development in the School of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences. In 1988, she became director of foundation relations for the Institute, during which time she strengthened and enhanced the overall program of identifying, cultivating and raising donations from foundations -- with a particular focus on matching MIT's academic priorities with the strategic priorities of foundations. In 1991, she became director of foundation relations and development services, with primary fund-raising responsibility for major gifts from alumni in Europe and the Middle East. In 1994, then-President Charles M. Vest appointed her vice president for resource development.
Vest commented, "Barbara Stowe has been amazingly effective as MIT's vice president for resource development. Under her leadership, MIT conducted a highly successful $2 billion capital campaign and moved us into a new league in private support. She has combined a strategic and analytical approach to fund raising with keen insights and appreciation of donors, faculty and staff. She brought to her difficult work a gracefulness and spirit of optimism that was infectious. She won friends, admirers and volunteers for MIT as well as financial donors. She realized the potential of MIT to receive major support from the international community, when many others doubted the potential for doing so. Finally, she was one of my closest and most trusted advisors, and I relied heavily on the wisdom, accuracy and candor of her advice."
A key element in the success of the campaign was her transformation of MIT's private donor base from its traditional reliance on corporate and foundation giving to an emphasis on gifts from alumni and friends. During that campaign, MIT raised more dollars per alumnus and more dollars per fund-raising staff than any of the other universities with $2 billion campaigns at that time.
An honorary member of the MIT Alumni Association, Stowe is member of the board of Management Sciences for Health, and a member of the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education and the Association of Development Officers of Urban Universities.
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on November 16, 2005 (download PDF).