Jim Piatt named senior vice president for university advancement and external affairs

The veteran Elon senior staff member will take on an expanded leadership role at the university.

Elon University President Connie Ledoux Book has promoted longtime advancement leader James B. Piatt Jr. to the new position of senior vice president for university advancement and external affairs. The expanded role includes responsibilities for a wide range of programs that connect the people of Elon with external constituencies locally and across the country.

“In his 14 years of leading Elon’s development, alumni relations and parent relations programs, Jim Piatt has played a key role in the university’s growth as a national university,” Book said. “He has led two comprehensive fundraising campaigns, stewarding donations that have transformed Elon’s campus, created more than 400 endowed scholarships and advanced academic programs. Jim is a national leader and acknowledged innovator in higher education advancement programs and is a great asset as we pursue the goals of the Boldly Elon strategic plan.”

Piatt is a member of Elon’s senior staff and the university’s long-range planning committee. He will continue to oversee his current portfolio of advancement programs in fundraising and alumni and parent relations and will take on management of the following programs:

  • Student Professional Development Center (career services programs)
  • Office of Professional and Continuing Education, including Elon NEXT and Life@Elon courses
  • Office of Cultural & Special Programs

He will also provide leadership for a campus-wide initiative of the Boldly Elon plan to further develop Elon regional centers in major U.S. metropolitan areas. The centers will build on existing Elon program models in Los Angeles and New York, providing experiential and professional learning opportunities for current students, faculty, alumni and prospective students.

Piatt says bringing these programs under one umbrella will help to expand a hub-and-spoke model of support for academic units as well as the coordination and reinforcement of relationships among a variety of external constituents.

“This is an exciting time at Elon and I look forward to working with the outstanding staff and faculty who are setting new standards of excellence in these external relations programs,” Piatt said. “As we expand connections beyond the Elon campus, we benefit students and alumni and make new friends who want to engage with our dynamic community.”

Piatt joined Elon in 2008 and led successful completions of the $107 million Ever Elon Campaign and the $260 million Elon LEADS Campaign. Annual fundraising has tripled during his tenure, with both alumni and parent annual giving participation increasing substantially – counter to national trends. Elon’s level of parent giving is consistently among the highest in the nation and the growth of the innovative Elon Day “day-of-giving” program over the past 10 years has fostered loyal relationships with the university. The number of alumni regional chapters has increased from 9 to 38, with a large growth in the number of alumni networking and professional development opportunities.

Beyond Elon, Piatt is a member of the faculty of the annual Summer Institute for Educational Fundraising, sponsored by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education. He is also a regular presenter at the Southeast Consortium of Advancement Leaders, a group of advancement leaders at premier colleges and universities, and has presented at programs sponsored by the American Council of Higher Education and the North Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities.

Prior to joining Elon, Piatt served eight years as vice president for college advancement at Mount Union College in Alliance, Ohio. Earlier in his career, he served in development positions at the Stanford University Law School, the University of California, Berkeley, and at Ohio University. Piatt has an MBA from Ohio University and a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University.