CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA. (Nov. 11, 2016) - After nearly 11 years as president and CEO of the University of Virginia Alumni Association, Tom Faulders (Col ’71) announced plans to retire in June.
“It is the best job I have ever had working with the best people in my career,” Faulders wrote in an email to employees, noting his tenure at Alumni Hall has been “twice as long as any other job I have held.”
Faulders came to the Association by way of a 26-year career in telecommunications and high tech. Among other positions, he was the senior vice president, marketing, at MCI; vice president and CFO at COMSAT; and, most recently, chairman and CEO of LCC International.
Faulders’ business background has made a difference, including the soft skills. “He’s done an excellent job of cultivating the relationships, so that many of the organizations on Grounds believe that the Alumni Association can be a vital and essential component of the things that they’re doing,” say Alumni Association Chairman William Jarvis (Com ’81, Law ’84).
Among Faulders’ accomplishments was repairing the once-strained relationship between the Association and the University. A testament to that, the Association officially became the gift-processing center for the University last April, taking over the back-office administration of the high volume of donations and pledges UVA receives.
A member of UVA President Teresa Sullivan’s cabinet, Faulders currently has a leadership role in the University’s upcoming bicentennial celebration and serves on multiple University committees.
Faulders majored in Economics at the University, where he worked on the Cavalier Daily, was a member of the Phi Delta Theta social fraternity and lived on the Lawn. After eight years in the U.S. Navy, he earned an MBA at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School.
Throughout his presidency, Faulders has kept the Association’s focus on helping alumni better connect with the University. That has included dramatically expanding the reach of Virginia Magazine. Faulders took it beyond a print-only, members-only, product to a multiplatform publication that distributes to all 225,000-plus UVA alumni, dues paying or not.
“There are a lot of alumni who don’t live here and don’t have the chance to walk the Lawn every day, don’t have the chance to see who the new professors are, and don’t have a chance to understand what buildings have changed,” Faulders says. “So a lot of what we try to do with the magazine is to bring Charlottesville to them.”
Similarly, the Association under Faulders has enhanced its reunions and alumni career services, and it has facilitated the growth of alumni interest groups, connecting specialized communities within the broader membership.
“The one thing I’ve tried to do is make sure that we understand that our job is to serve alumni,” Faulders says. “Sometimes when you live inside the bubble, it is easy to forget that.”
Alumni Association Board of Managers Vice Chair Meredith Jenkins (Col ’93) heads a 10-member search committee to find Faulders’ successor. “Time is of the essence,” she says, citing a goal to have the next president in place, or at least named, by the Board of Managers’ April meeting.
Russell Reynolds Associates has been retained to assist the search committee. Its members include Jarvis, Association Immediate-Past Chair John Harris (Com ’82), board members Charles McDaniel (Col ’86) and Sheryl Wilbon (Col ’88), Jefferson Trust Board Chair Jim Rutrough (Col ’71), UVA Young Alumni Council Vice President Christina Polenta (Com ’09), Alumni Association Vice President of Finance & CFO Donna Arehart (Com ’79), UVA Vice President for Advancement Mark Luellen and Faulders.
Hiring a UVA alum is a preference, but, as of now, not a requirement, according to Jenkins.
Contact: Kurt Harrison / UVaAlumni@russellreynolds.com.