Dr. Clayton Pheasant Retires
University Advancement VP Guided 22 Years of Growth
Thanks to Clayton N. Pheasant, D. Min., who became Vice President for Advancement in 1991, the idea of advancement at Marywood has become synonymous with philanthropy, resource acquisition, branding, donor stewardship, capital construction, and alumni participation at a national level. Dr. Pheasant arrived on campus in the early stages of an ambitious capital campaign—Impact 2000. In 1996, the campaign wrapped up Phase One after surpassing the $30 million goal. In 2002, the campaign concluded, realizing $58.5 million and surpassing its goal by over $3.5 million. These funds helped launch one of the most extensive building programs in Marywood’s history.
“I was here at a time when the institution was growing outward. Every building on campus was either built or significantly renovated during my tenure,” Dr. Pheasant reflected. “I will say that it is with a great deal of satisfaction that I’m able to look at what’s happened and recognize that I’ve had a part in it.”
During his 22-year tenure, Dr. Pheasant guided the advancement operations from a fledgling program to a comprehensive operation with significant progress in development, alumni relations, and marketing and communications. Among the multiple capital initiatives that took place during his career—all of which had a beneficial impact—he recalls with particular satisfaction the construction of the McGowan Center for Graduate and Professional Studies (1997) and the Insalaco Center for Studio Arts (2001).
“Building the McGowan Center was necessary for the development of our graduate programs,” said Dr. Pheasant. “We got a commitment of a million dollars from the McGowan Foundation, with a challenge grant to be matched by a million dollars. That money and that challenge grant changed the whole concept of fundraising for Marywood—it was a transition in the way we thought about what we could accomplish.”
Just as the McGowan Center strengthened Marywood’s graduate programs and transformed the face of philanthropic efforts on campus, Dr. Pheasant noted that the Insalaco Center was the embodiment of a distinctive history and vision for the University’s art programs. This kind of project, he said, motivated people to step up and meet Marywood’s challenges, helping the institution to grow in ways that deeply reflected its mission and purpose.
“Every benefactor is important, including the support of the named and the unnamed,” Dr. Pheasant observed with gratitude. “The important thing is that people commit themselves to giving at the level that is appropriate for them. What it ultimately boils down to is establishing personal relationships—then people hear our story, catch the vision, and want to help us to move that vision forward.”
He is quick to thank others—benefactors and staff members alike. “I appreciate good leadership; dedicated, committed trustees and alumni; excellent faculty and staff,” Dr. Pheasant stated. “I especially wish to thank Patti Munley-Cerda, who served as my Executive Secretary all these years. We arrived at Marywood together, within days of each other. I can’t thank her enough for more than 20 years of valuable service and invaluable friendship.”
Dr. Pheasant’s dedication to the concept of philanthropic support for nonprofit community and professional organizations everywhere—including the YMCA, the Dunmore Rotary Club, the National Society of Fund Raising Executives, and the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education—combined with his leadership in advancement at Marywood have created a lasting impact on the University and all who share Marywood’s mission and vision.
“The important thing is that people commit themselves to giving at the level that is appropriate for them. What it ultimately boils down to is establishing personal relationships—then people hear our story, catch the vision, and want to help us to move that vision forward.”
- Dr. Clayton Pheasant