Downing joins Lafayette on June 1. Twitter
After a competitive nationwide search, Lafayette College has named Valerie J. Downing as associate vice president for Alumni Engagement and Annual Giving. She will begin her position on June 1.
Ms. Downing brings a wealth of experience in alumni engagement, volunteer management, and strategic fundraising. She has a proven track record of fundraising success, excellent work ethic, unparalleled attention to detail, and is laser focused on developing a strategic, alumni engagement and annual giving team.
“I’m excited to welcome Valerie to Lafayette and look forward to leveraging her expertise and leadership to further strengthen our growing alumni engagement program,” says Kimberly Spang, vice president for Development and College Relations. “As we approach the College’s bicentennial in 2026, I know Valerie will help us realize our shared vision as we strengthen loyalty, increase alumni engagement, and bolster overall advocacy of the College. I’m proud to have her join the Lafayette family.”
In her most recent role, Ms. Downing served as vice president for Institutional Advancement at Cedar Crest College since 2019, where she also served as acting vice president since March 2018. In these positions, she led her team through the silent phase of a five-year, $25 million comprehensive campaign, raising more than 42% in cash and pledge commitments within the first 18 months.
Ms. Downing also led the college’s fundraising efforts, including individual, corporate, foundation, and governmental entities. She actively managed a portfolio of major gift prospects. In this role she also managed alumnae affairs activities including overseeing all communications, events, and staff. Several key accomplishments include: leveraging a 32-stop presidential tour to 16 states, resulting in 69.1% of tour attendees making a gift in the fiscal year following the tour; developing and launching a 150th anniversary celebration; strengthening affinity groups; and leveraging beloved campus traditions. Ms. Downing also served as executive director of Development at Cedar Crest from 2017-18.
Prior to her positions at Cedar Crest, Ms. Downing served as a development and marketing consultant for Weller Health Education Center. Ms. Downing found her true passion for fundraising while serving as vice president for Development at Penn State Health St. Joseph – St. Joseph Medical Center Foundation; and vice president – Foundation, Marketing and Public Relations at Sacred Heart HealthCare System. She started her career in banking after graduating from Elizabethtown College as a first generation college student with a degree in marketing and finance. She completed the American Bankers Association School of Bank Marketing and Management in Boulder, Colorado; and earned partial completion of the American Bankers Association Stonier Graduate School of Banking in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, (a career change led to withdrawal from the program); and an MBA from Cedar Crest College in 2021.
In 2022 Ms. Downing received a Distinguished Alumni Award from the Oley Valley Community Education Foundation and a Lehigh Valley Women of Influence Award from Lehigh Valley Business. She is a frequent participant in LVAIC programming including serving as presenter and mentor in the LVAIC Leadership Institute since 2020.
Ms. Downing continues to fulfill a passion for helping others through board service and involvement on fundraising committees for mission-driven organizations. She currently serves on the boards of the Oley Valley Community Education Foundation and the Miracle League of the Lehigh Valley. She previously served on the board of directors for Weller Health Education Center (2006-14) and Turning Point of Lehigh Valley (2004-07), to name a few.