In 2006, Development Guild partnered with the Columbia University School of Nursing on their executive search for an Associate Dean for Development. We placed Reva Feinstein, who has been with the school ever since. We recently caught up with Reva to discover how her position and the school have evolved and grown over the years.
What initially attracted you to the Associate Dean for Development & Alumni Relations position and what do you love most about it now?
I was initially drawn to the position at Columbia University School of Nursing because I was moved by the school’s mission and have long held a deep respect for the nursing profession. I felt that by joining the development team, I would be supporting and advancing a deeply worthwhile cause. Personally, it seemed a logical transition to move from raising money in a liberal arts higher-education setting to a graduate school that was part of a major medical center. And in addition to that, I was excited by the chance to help shape and grow a program.
In the past , one of the most rewarding aspects of my position has been getting to know and work with key stakeholders from the alumni community, colleagues and faculty, Nursing’s Board of Visitors, and University Trustees. Opportunities to partner with these cohorts in consistently new and different ways has kept my work interesting and meaningful.
How have your position and responsibilities changed since you began?
Well, my role has changed. When I first joined, I was as Associate Dean for Development, and around seven years ago, my position expanded to also include Alumni Relations. At the same time, our program has grown substantially. We’ve more than doubled in size, from a 3-person team to a 7-person team. As a result, we’ve been able to focus more deeply on alumni engagement and increase the scale of our fundraising efforts. In fact, we recently completed Columbia Nursing’s largest capital campaign. This occurred in tandem with us moving into a beautiful, new building. It’s been great to be a part of these transitions and to see these projects bear fruit.
What are your and your department’s greatest achievements since you’ve joined Columbia University School of Nursing?
There are a number of achievements of which I’m very proud. It’s been wonderful to see our alumni programs grow and strengthen over the years. We have built a very robust reunion program and offer a wide range of engagement opportunities to alumni, including panel presentations from experts within the field and a mentoring initiative that connects alum with current students.
Also, as I mentioned, we recently completed our Building the Future capital campaign. This included securing the largest philanthropic gift in the school’s history: $6.5 million from the Helene Fuld Health Trust. The gift has transformed the education we provide our students: we’ve been able to develop the newly-named Helene Fuld Simulation Center and provide much-needed scholarship support. We have also created a new conference focused on innovations in simulation.
I also mentioned that we moved into a new building. For over 30 years, the School of Nursing was housed in what was primarily a graduate student residence. Now, we have our own purpose-built, well designed 7-story building. This has truly altered our capabilities, in terms of the programming and activities we’re able to offer alumni and friends of the school. Every morning, I walk through the front doors and smile – our new building is beautiful and filled with light. It’s a wonderful space to work in every day – from the garden areas on the rooftop terrace to the array of different conference rooms and gathering spaces — and I’m proud to be a part of the team that has overseen the transition.
Finally, it has been deeply rewarding to work with a talented and creative development and alumni relations team. I enjoy the chance we have to continually learn from each other, as well as collaborate with other members of the Columbia community.
What do you hope to achieve at Columbia University School of Nursing in the future?
I hope to work with our alumni, friends, school leadership and my own team to further strengthen and grow the scholarship program at Columbia Nursing.