Nathan Lehman ’18 at his tem­porary desk he shares with Danny Drummond ’18 in Moss Hall. Madeleine Miller | Col­legian

Insti­tu­tional Advancement hired two recent Hillsdale College grad­uates to assist in fundraising, event planning, and donor rela­tions.

Fol­lowing their grad­u­ation in the spring, Nathan Lehman ’18 and Danny Drummond ’18 began working as Insti­tu­tional Advancement asso­ciates. The recent hires will form rela­tion­ships with Hillsdale College sup­porters and work to secure funds to help the college thrive and expand.

Insti­tu­tional Advancement is the college’s fundraising and out­reach department. According to Senior Advancement Officer Calvin Stockdale ’10, it serves as “the outward-focused voice and face of the college to larger, more sig­nif­icant donors.” To sup­plement the college’s mar­keting strategies, the department aims to build long-term, genuine rela­tion­ships with those that give to Hillsdale.

“It’s a per­sonal touch,” he said.

Lehman, who studied pol­itics and eco­nomics, knew he wanted to go into fundraising and devel­opment after grad­u­ation. As a student, he worked for two years in the Planned Giving department, where he developed a knack and passion for con­necting with the college’s sup­porters. A chance and encour­aging encounter with Hillsdale College Pres­ident Larry Arnn prompted him to submit a cover letter and resume to Vice Pres­ident of Insti­tu­tional Advancement John Cervini, and he was soon hired.

Drummond, who majored in mar­keting and history, was inspired to work for the college after hearing Arnn speak about Hillsdale’s plans for future expansion at a Parents’ Weekend event last spring. A firm believer in Hillsdale’s mission, Drummond realized that he would like to con­tinue to be a part of part of the college as it grows in size and influence. After getting in touch with Arnn and Cervini, it became clear that he would be a perfect fit for the department.

“I’m so very happy to come back,” he remarked.

Insti­tu­tional Advancement con­nects with college sup­porters indi­vid­ually in their home­towns, through events on campus and at events throughout the country. Lehman works a portion of the Midwest, while Drummond is appointed to the Plains states. They travel reg­u­larly throughout their ter­ri­tories to meet with sup­porters and assist with events. They also host and give tours to college sup­porters who visit campus. The majority of their time is spent preparing for, exe­cuting, and fol­lowing up on meetings and events.

Meeting with college sup­porters allows Insti­tu­tional Advancement officers to thank them for their gen­erosity and update them on campus devel­op­ments.

“We are essen­tially taking a little piece of Hillsdale to them,” Stockdale said.

Stockdale, Lehman, and Drummond agree that this is imper­ative, given that many of Hillsdale’s sup­porters have never visited or oth­erwise had contact with the college.

It also gives them the oppor­tunity to determine college sup­porters’ spe­cific interests within the college, and identify how they could grow in their giving rela­tion­ships by con­tributing directly to those areas. Lehman said he has found that working with college sup­porters to for­mulate their best giving strategies is similar to helping stu­dents find their niche on campus.

“The way I see it is we’re trying to help people realize their indi­vidual dreams here,” he said.

Insti­tu­tional Advancement orga­nizes a bevy of events nationwide, including Lifelong Learning Sem­inars, National Lead­ership Sem­inars, Arnn Recep­tions, Hometown Lun­cheons, and Freedom Forums. The department also pro­vides sup­ple­mentary activ­ities for those attending Center for Con­structive Alter­na­tives sem­inars. Insti­tu­tional Advancement officers help run the events, and connect with college sup­porters and other attendees.

Lehman and Drummond appre­ciate that they are rep­re­sen­ta­tives of Hillsdale’s ethos and purpose.

“I’m an ambas­sador for the college to the world. I’m always ready to talk about it,” Lehman said.

Drummond shares a similar view.  

“I see my role as spreading the mission of Hillsdale College by forming rela­tion­ships with people through which I’m able to explain it well,” Drummond said. “So I think that I’m part of the spread of Hillsdale’s ideas just through con­ver­sation with people.”

They agree the best part of their job is meeting a variety of quality and intriguing people.

“I love getting to know new people and hearing their stories,” Lehman said, remarking that college sup­porters are diverse in interests and back­grounds.

Drummond speaks highly of Hillsdale College’s sup­porters.  

“It seems to attract a lot of people who are really uplifting,” he said. “They’re all very kind and of high char­acter and con­cerned for our country.”

He stressed that stu­dents are at the heart of Insti­tu­tional Advancement’s work.

“What we’re doing in Moss has a direct effect on the stu­dents,” Drummond said. He explained that donors’ gen­erosity enables many stu­dents to attend Hillsdale College, as their con­tri­bu­tions allow the college to trim tuition costs and provide schol­ar­ships and financial aid.

Lehman agreed that their work is about the stu­dents.

“We really fight for the stu­dents,” he said. “We want to see stu­dents succeed. Oth­erwise we wouldn’t be in this job.”

Both asso­ciates have found the tran­sition from their roles as stu­dents to employees of the college sur­pris­ingly seamless. They enjoy keeping up with friends on campus and value the oppor­tunity to apply their com­mitment to all that the college stands for pro­fes­sionally.

“I’m just really happy to be here,” Lehman said. “I love my coworkers, I love the school. I feel like this is the place that I’m sup­posed to be right now in my life.”