Northwestern has appointed Julie Allen board secretary and advisor to the president, effective Aug. 2, President Michael Schill announced today. Allen will report both to President Schill and Peter Barris, chair of the Board of Trustees.
The board secretary serves as the primary liaison between the Board of Trustees and the University’s administration. In this role, Allen will lead a team of experienced board liaisons that provides high-level facilitation and coordination of the Board of Trustees operations. Her work will include strategic planning, meeting preparation, staffing and managing relationships between board members and University leaders.
Allen will plan and execute meetings of the board and its committees, maintain the records of board proceedings and provide for the general management and oversight of board activities. She will be a senior advisor and administrative staff member to the president, acting as a counselor to President Schill and board leaders while managing projects and initiatives important for both. This role takes on many of the responsibilities currently held by Marilyn McCoy, vice president for administration and planning, who will retire Aug. 1 after 38 years at Northwestern.
“Since the day I arrived at Northwestern, I have been impressed by Julie’s professional drive and dedication to the mission of the University,” Schill said. “She will lead a talented team of professionals whose service to the board is vital to ensuring our united pursuit of excellence in teaching and research, and our support of the personal growth of our students. We are excited to welcome Julie into this role.”
Since 2015, Allen has served as a member of the senior leadership team in Alumni Relations and Development (ARD). As senior associate vice president for schools and programs, she manages more than 60 fundraisers and staff members to help University leaders set and realize their goals.
She leads fundraising teams for Northwestern schools that confer undergraduate degrees, as well as for the Department of Athletics and Recreation, the Block Museum of Art, interdisciplinary research centers, University Libraries, the School of Professional Studies and programs in financial aid, parent giving and student affairs. She also oversees corporate and foundation fundraising programs.
Under Allen’s leadership, those teams raised more than $1.4 billion as part of We Will. The Campaign for Northwestern, one of the largest fundraising campaigns in U.S. higher education, representing nearly a third of the “We Will” Campaign total.
“Julie has the experience and tenacity to support the board’s ambitions,” Barris said. “Her work with the president and the trustees will be vital to advancing Northwestern’s priorities. We look forward to welcoming Julie into this new role.”
Previously, Allen worked for seven years as director of major gifts, campaign director and director of principal gifts at the Kellogg School of Management. She helped raise more than $200 million in support of Kellogg’s campaign and was instrumental in growing the school’s principal gifts efforts. Allen also worked closely with the dean and served as staff liaison for Kellogg’s Campaign Steering Committee.
For over 15 years at Northwestern, Allen has worked closely and collaboratively with Northwestern administrators and alumni, including many current board members, to advance and harmonize University priorities. She will continue this work in her new role.
“I’ve had the great privilege to work closely with many of our highly supportive and engaged board members as they’ve partnered with our academic leaders to achieve their shared visions for Northwestern,” Allen said. “I look forward to partnering with President Schill, Peter Barris and all the trustees to continue to advance Northwestern’s educational and research mission and further the University’s excellence.”
Before coming to Northwestern, Allen served as director of development for Trinity College of Arts & Sciences at Duke University, where she solicited and closed major gifts while also managing the major gifts team and working with the Trinity Board of Visitors. She began her development career at the University of Chicago, working in the office of annual giving for seven years.
Allen earned her bachelor’s degree in public policy studies from the University of Chicago. She lives in Evanston with her husband, Michael Allen, associate professor of history in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences and Northwestern Ph.D. alumnus, and their two children.