VP of Alumni Birrell to step down, Reed to assume post temporarily

Steve Birrell, vice president for Alumni Relations and Development, is set to retire on June 30 after over 20 years in various capacities at the College. Mike Reed, vice president for Strategic Planning and Institutional Diversity, will temporarily assume the position.

According to Birrell, the search for his successor was already under way last fall, with plans to have a hire in place by the end of June. But with President Schapiro’s decision to leave the College for Northwestern, the search was suspended.

Birrell said it was both customary and important that the next president make the appointment himself. “The [vice president for Alumni Relations and Development] reports directly to the president and, to the extent possible, any such appointment should be made by the president,” he said. “Moreover, because the president plays such a critical role to the College’s alumni relations and, especially, to its fundraising efforts, any new vice president would want to know with whom he or she was going to serve; and, of course, vice versa.”

As one of the senior officers at the College, the vice president for Alumni Relations and Development serves on the president’s senior staff, and is responsible for the leadership and management of both alumni relations and fundraising.

Reed is an alumnus of the College and formerly worked in Alumni Relations. He is also in charge of the search for the permanent appointment.

Birrell said he had long been planning to retire after the close of the Williams Campaign. “Quite frankly, I’ve been too busy to give a great deal of thought to [post-Williams plans], but my wife and I plan to stay in Williamstown,” he said.

Birrell has held his current position since July 1, 1995, and from 1984 to 1991 he worked in various development programs at the College. In the interim, he worked at Amherst College.
When contacted for interview, Reed declined to comment.