Paul Clifford to Succeed Roger Williams as Alumni Association Director
The Penn State Alumni Association announced today that Paul Clifford will serve as its 11th chief executive and associate vice president for alumni relations. Clifford succeeds Roger Williams, who retired earlier this year.
A Conyngham, PA native and 1996 Bloomsburg University graduate, Clifford comes to Penn State from the University of Oregon, where he has served as associate vice president of advancement and executive director of the University of Oregon’s 190,000-member Alumni Association.
“Paul Clifford is recognized as one of the most innovative, energetic and knowledgeable alumni advancement professionals in the country today,” said Senior Vice President for Development and Alumni Relations Rod Kirsch, who led the search committee, in a release. “He has the right skill set, personality and vision to lead the Alumni Association into its next chapter of service to alumni and alma mater.”
Clifford will begin at Penn State on January 11, overseeing the business of our 177,000+ member Alumni Association.
“I am honored to have the opportunity to lead the Penn State Alumni Association and serve the most loyal alumni base in the world,” Clifford said in a release. “I am overwhelmed with delight and excitement to be coming home to serve a University that my family cares for deeply. It is the realization of my greatest professional dream to have been chosen for this important role, at this critical moment at a premier public institution.”
Prior to his role at the University of Oregon, Clifford was associate vice chancellor for alumni relations at East Carolina University and the president and CEO of the East Carolina Alumni Association from 2004 to 2014. Previously, he was director of alumni outreach at the University of Connecticut Alumni Association, director of alumni affairs at SUNY New Paltz, and assistant director for alumni communications and student programs at James Madison University.
“It’s an important time in the life of our Alumni Association, and we couldn’t be more excited about the dynamic leadership style Paul brings with him to Penn State,” said Alumni Association President Kevin Steele in the release. “On behalf of our executive board and Alumni Council, our membership, and alumni everywhere, I want to welcome Paul to the Penn State community and our Alumni Association family.”
Clifford joins the Alumni Association after the generally favorable but in the end embroiled tenure of Roger Williams. The Association was sued by several Penn State Alumni Trustees and others this spring after they were arbitrarily denied ballot access to serve as elected members of Alumni Council. In the end, the Alumni Association allowed some non-trustees in the election, but the effort to keep some alumni off the ballot was widely seen as a blunder (at least to those not already on Council).
Nonetheless, Clifford will soon lead the largest dues paying Alumni Association in the world in its mission to serve Alumni and support Penn State.