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David Lively named vice president for Alumni Relations and Development

Experienced fundraising leader oversaw Northwestern’s historic ‘We Will’ Campaign

EVANSTON, Ill. --- David Lively has been named vice president for Alumni Relations and Development (ARD), effective immediately, President Michael Schill announced today. Lively, who joined ARD more than a decade ago and has risen through the ranks, had been serving as senior associate vice president and interim vice president.

Lively will lead the department’s 280 staff members, partner with an additional 100 advancement colleagues in Northwestern’s professional schools and serve as a member of Schill’s senior staff. He was selected as vice president after an extensive, nationwide search.

“Since I arrived at Northwestern, I have been incredibly impressed by David and his ability to connect with alumni and donors, helping the University achieve its vision and possibilities,” Schill said. “He has done so much to promote the interests of our students, faculty and staff throughout his time with the department, and we look forward to his continued leadership as he steps into his new role.”

Lively joined ARD in 2012, leading fundraising for schools and programs. In 2015, he was promoted to associate vice president and campaign manager, leading We Will. The Campaign for Northwestern — one of the largest fundraising campaigns in U.S. higher education history. Lively was promoted to senior associate vice president in 2017.

The “We Will” Campaign, publicly launched in March 2014, raised $6.1 billion to support the University’s “Northwestern Will” strategic plan. Following the conclusion of the Campaign in June 2021, Lively helped Northwestern raise a record-breaking $1 billion in new gifts and commitments in its first post-Campaign year. This fiscal year, fundraising for the University has continued at a near-record pace.

Campaign funds, raised from 174,380 donors, have supported a range of opportunities for students and researchers, including scholarships, research grants, student experience funds, endowed professorships and cutting-edge research facilities.

“Northwestern is an extraordinary university, and I am honored to have the opportunity to partner with President Schill and our alumni, friends, and academic leaders to achieve our strategic ambitions,” Lively said. “Our supremely talented Alumni Relations and Development team is one of the best in the country, built in large part by Bob McQuinn over a storied tenure. I look forward to working with the team to achieve even greater success.”    

Prior to coming to Northwestern, Lively served as vice president of development at DePaul University in Chicago, where he oversaw the university’s first fundraising campaign in more than two decades. Lively also held development positions at the University of Denver, the University of Colorado Foundation and, from 1997 to 1999, Northwestern’s Pritzker School of Law.

Lively holds an MBA from the University of Denver, a master’s degree in history from Colorado State University and a bachelor’s degree in history from Southern Methodist University.

He is the author of “Managing Major Gift Fundraisers: A Contrarian’s Guide” and co-host of the podcast “Talking Shop.”

Lively and his wife, Elizabeth Gillette, live in Winnetka. They are the proud parents of Cate and Zoe ’26, a student in the School of Education and Social Policy.

Lively succeeds McQuinn, who stepped down in October 2023 after 13 years in the role.