Ben Anderson is the associate vice president for major giving at Boston College. Joining BC in 2012 as associate director for capital giving, Anderson has held several leadership positions including director of parent development and director of alumni and parent major giving. In this current role, Anderson leads major giving efforts, overseeing Major Gifts, Planned Giving, International Advancement, and Parent Major Giving. Additionally, Anderson carries a portfolio of 40 prospects rated $1M - $25M both locally and internationally.
Prior to joining Boston College, Anderson was a major gift officer with Habitat for Humanity International. Ben also brings frontline fundraising experience from Skidmore College. At both Habitat and Skidmore, Anderson worked closely with his portfolio of prospects to advance their philanthropic relationship with each organization. Anderson has BA from Bates College and a MA from Boston College.
Michelle Bishop-Dorsey is the senior associate director, parent’s fundraising at Boston College. In her role, Bishop-Dorsey is responsible for managing a portfolio of 125 parents rated $250,000 to $ 4.9 Million, having active conversations with them to qualify, cultivate, solicit and close gifts for the University at the 6-figure plus level. Along with managing her portfolio, Bishop-Dorsey contributes to overall parent strategy and programming, including previously managing BC’s First Year Sendoff Program, which engages leading parent prospects to host 30 receptions to welcome incoming freshman and their parents around the country.
Bishop-Dorsey joined Boston College in June of 2007 as the senior associate director, classes, where she oversaw the 20th Reunion Gift Campaign fundraising effort to increase alumni participation, current-use support and $10,000+ Gasson Society gifts to the University. In addition, she managed the Young Alumni Team, which consists of four frontline fundraisers and two support staff. In 2010, she was promoted to associate director, parents’ fundraising where she managed a portfolio of parents and served as a liaison to the Parents’ Leadership Council. Bishop-Dorsey was promoted to senior associated director of the Parents’ program where she currently has served for the past few years.
Prior to joining Boston College, Bishop-Dorsey worked for the Jewish Family & Children’s Service of Greater Boston as the director of development, where she assisted in successfully raising over $2.5 Million in annual fund support. Bishop-Dorsey also worked at Wheelock College as the special assistant to the dean of students. Prior to Wheelock, Bishop-Dorsey worked at the U.S Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. and the Office of the Attorney General.
Bishop-Dorsey earned her bachelor degree from the University of Vermont in sociology, with a concentration in crime, law, and justice. She currently resides in Newton, Massachusetts with her husband and two young children.
Renee DeCesare provides oversight and strategic direction of the development functions for the School Development team, a unit of eight that advances Boston College's academic priorities. This includes the Carroll School of Management, the Connell School of Nursing, the Lynch School of Education and Human Development, the Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences, the School of Social Work, the School of Theology and Ministry, and the Woods College of Advancing studies as well as a number of other strategic initiatives and centers.
DeCesare joined Boston College in September 2002 as a development assistant for the principal giving team and since that time has been promoted to multiple roles in both development and alumni relations. In 2008, she became the senior associate director of affinity programs, a unit of seven that provided strategic oversight for all of the alumni affinity councils and programs including the two largest fundraising events – Pops on the Heights: The James and Barbara Cleary Scholarship Gala and the Wall Street Council Tribute Dinner.
DeCesare joined the school development team as an associate director of the Carroll School of Management in 2013. She was promoted to director of development of the Carroll School of Management in 2017.
DeCesare came to Boston College after serving as a Teacher's Aide in early childhood education in the Randolph, Brookline, and Dedham Public School systems.
DeCesare earned her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Early Childhood Education from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. She also earned her Master in Education in Curriculum and Instruction from the Lynch School of Education and Human Development while working at Boston College.
She currently resides in Norwood, Massachusetts with her husband and young son.
Leah DeCosta was appointed associate vice president for alumni relations at Boston College in the summer of 2018. She spent the previous year as director of alumni relations at the New York University Stern School of Business, serving an alumni population of 110,000 members. Only eight months into her tenure, DeCosta was nominated for NYU’s annual Give-a-Violet Award, which identifies a staff member or administrator who “has gone above and beyond the scope of their position and demonstrated specific values and competencies at an exceptional level in the performance of their everyday responsibilities.”
From 2004 to 2017—with the exception of a two-year gap, when she was director of programs for the Special Olympics of New York Capital & North Country Region—DeCosta worked in various capacities at Boston College, most recently as director of alumni affinity and chapter programs in University Advancement from 2016-17.
DeCosta’s other positions in University Advancement were senior associate director for alumni affinity programs and associate director for alumni classes. From 2012-13, she served as associate director for event operations in BC Athletics. In her earlier stint at BC, she was Athletics’ assistant director for sports marketing from 2007-10 and event administrator in Athletics’ Event Operations from 2004-07.
While at BC, DeCosta has been involved in the Benjamin E. Mays Mentoring Program and the Affiliates Leadership Development Program. She also has participated in the NCAA Leadership Institute for Ethnic Minority Females, CASE Summer Institute ACC Alumni Association Directors Conference, and the Association of Business School Alumni Professionals.
As director of the marketing and participation team in the annual giving unit, Cynthia Figueroa leads a team responsible for building and executing direct marketing strategies to support goals in undergraduate alumni participation and leadership giving. The marketing & participation team works to deliver annual giving appeals and stewardship that best drive philanthropic engagement across many constituent groups. This work includes marketing for the Neenan Society for loyal donor recognition, the 1863 Society for leadership level donor recognition, and large annual giving campaigns like the launch of Boston College’s first stand-alone Giving Day campaign in 2019.
Figueroa began her career at Boston College as associate director on the marketing and participation team. In this role she was responsible for a broad portfolio of work including annual giving stewardship, phone program strategy, and execution of BC’s #GivingTuesday campaign for three years. Prior to BC, Figueroa worked for her alma mater, The George Washington University, for several years in their annual giving department. In 2012 she was promoted to an assistant director role responsible for operations of the GWU phonathon program where over three years she grew performance of the program in donor acquisition and reactivation.
Figueroa graduated from The George Washington University with a degree in business administration and is a current M.B.A. candidate at Boston College’s Carroll School of Management.
Jim Husson is the senior vice president for university advancement at Boston College, overseeing the university's development and alumni relations functions. He joined the development team in 2002 as the vice president for development and was promoted to his current position in June 2004. He and his colleagues spearheaded "Light the World," the university's 150th anniversary campaign, which concluded in 2016, having raised a record $1.6 billion in gifts from more than 140,000 alumni, parents and friends.
Husson has nearly 30 years of experience in educational advancement and has served as the vice president for development for Brown University and as the director of major gifts for Harvard's Faculty of Arts and Sciences. Early in his career, he worked for two private secondary schools, Northfield Mount Hermon School and Cushing Academy, and for the Harvard Graduate School of Design.
He first joined the SIEFR faculty in 2008 and also served CASE as chair of the CASE 40 Data Task Force.
Husson is a graduate of the University of Rochester and Northfield Mount Hermon School.
Margaret A. McCorkle
Peggy McCorkle has enjoyed a long and distinguished career at Boston College. She has spent over 20 years steadily advancing her experience while developing into a leader within University Advancement.
In August 2018, McCorkle was promoted to associate vice president, annual & leadership giving. In this role she is responsible for defining and implementing strategies to cultivate and increase prospects and donors making annual leadership gifts to Boston College, thereby increasing the volume of annual current-use dollars for the university. The current annual and leadership giving team is comprised of over thirty total staff members across three divisions. Each division performs a distinct function, but with a shared responsibility for, and ultimate goal of, driving gifts up to $250,000. In addition to this leadership role, McCorkle continues to serve as the fundraising director of both Pops on the Heights, BC’s largest event in support of financial aid; as well as the Wall Street Tribute Dinner, BC’s event in support of the University's Gabelli Presidential Scholars Program.
Prior to this role, McCorkle served as executive director, annual giving and before that, as director, leadership giving events. As the director of leadership giving events, McCorkle was responsible for all aspects of fundraising for the annual Pops on the Heights Scholarship Gala. McCorkle’s leadership helped to ensure record-breaking results for the 25th anniversary Pops on the Heights Scholarship Gala with $14M raised in 2017; preceded by a record-setting $9M raised in 2016. In addition, the leadership giving events team was responsible for all stewardship events related to the 1863 Society and donor impact reporting for annual gifts less than $100,000.
In her previous roles at BC McCorkle has truly risen through the ranks, harnessing a strong strategic vision to generate success in a variety of positions. Additional positions in university advancement include director of leadership giving, director of annual giving, senior associate director of annual giving for GOLD (Graduates of the Last Decade), and class giving officer. Her early career spanned seven years in the programs and events office in University Advancement.
McCorkle is also a strong and articulate proponent of the unique benefits of a Jesuit, Catholic education having earned her master’s degree in education at Boston College.
Brenda Speight Ricard
Brenda Speight Ricard, PhD, has spent the past twenty-nine years working in higher education administration at Boston College where she currently serves as the associate vice president, operations and planning for university advancement, leading the units supporting the work of the recently completed $1.6 billion Light the World campaign. In addition, Speight Ricard has served in leadership roles in the office of the vice president for student affairs and in the office of the executive vice president. Her professional experiences have included significant work in strategic planning, organizational development, and reengineering in higher education. She has successfully led the development and implementation of a number of key initiatives at Boston College, including shared business service centers designed to improve service and reduce cost. More recently, she managed, on behalf of university advancement, the design and renovation of the Cadigan Alumni Center.
Ginger Saariaho provides oversight and strategic direction to the development functions that advance Boston College’s academic priorities including school development, corporate and foundation relations, and law school advancement. She also has launched a strategic engagement team whose work includes developing meaningful engagement opportunities for the University's key advisors and benefactors.
Saariaho joined Boston College in June 2005 as associate director of corporate & foundation relations, and became the department’s director in September 2007. In 2012, she was promoted to executive director of school development & organizational giving, a unit of 16 that supports Boston College’s mission through partnerships with corporations, foundations, and all those whose philanthropic goals align closely with the university’s academic leadership. She became AVP in 2017. Saariaho’s service to Boston College includes roles on the Montserrat Taskforce, a group of senior administrators that seek to reduce disparities in the college experience for students with the highest financial need; and Global Engagement Taskforce which works to develop recommendations to increase BC’s global presence and impact. Since 2012, she has been a member of the national executive team of the Jesuit Advancement Administrators network, which plans an annual conference for advancement professionals at the 28 Jesuit colleges and universities in the U.S. Saariaho came to Boston College from Brown University, her alma mater, where she served multiple roles in the Advancement division, most recently as assistant director of corporate and foundation relations. She also held positions in the major gifts and stewardship departments. She continues her service to Brown as a founding board member of the Brown Women’s Crew alumnae group. Saariaho earned her MBA from the Carroll School of Management while working at Boston College. She currently resides in Roslindale, Massachusetts with her husband and two young children.