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A Q&A WITH NEW VP CHRIS CLOUD

In the last issue of BCAM, we announced the arrival of Chris Cloud, Baruch’s new vice president for college advancement. We sat down with Chris to find out a bit more about him and some of his plans. Our interview follows.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and what attracted you to Baruch.
As a younger man, I was in the private practice of law with a small Wall Street firm. I represented a lot of agencies of the Archdiocese of New York. The best part of the job was working with nonprofits, defending people in lawsuits who were working hard for the benefit of others and trying to do the right thing. Years ago, while I was looking at options for opening my own law practice, I had a chance to work in fundraising for two campaigns seeking to raise almost $2 billion. This was at New York–Presbyterian Hospital and Weill Cornell Medical College. Working every day to advance a great mission gave me more personal satisfaction than I found in a law practice, which has different missions on different days.

When I was approached about coming to Baruch, the first thing I did was download a film clip of President Waldron at Commencement last May. Her speech really struck a chord—she’s a sharp, genuine person dedicated to the mission of bringing excellent education to Baruch’s young people, who in many ways are the hungriest and most ambitious students out there. It’s a mission that brings out the best in all of us—successful alumni giving back, students working hard to become a success, and faculty working to bring success for their students, the students’ families, and the greater community.

How will the Office of College Advancement support the goals set forth in Baruch’s recently completed Strategic Plan?
Raising funds is at the core of what we do, of course. But we work on a more expansive front, too. We’re reaching out to alumni, businesses, foundations, government, and others who can broaden the horizons of our students, and we want to enlist everybody who knows and loves Baruch to help us. Our contributions in implementing the Strategic Plan will be about raising the money to realize our vision and finding a voice for Baruch that reaches more people with more positive impact.

Baruch has just come to the end of a successful fundraising campaign and in the process has greatly increased its visibility and enhanced its reputation. But because of the continuous need for private funds for public institutions, a new campaign can’t be far off. Are you planning to launch one? What form will it take?
My earliest responsibility at Baruch has been a feasibility planning study for a new campaign. That study should be completed this summer and will highlight our options. The last campaign opened up new worlds of fundraising potential for Baruch College, thanks to some remarkably generous people, including William and Anita Newman, Larry Zicklin, Larry Field, George Weissman, and Bernard Schwartz. Irwin Engelman, president of The Baruch College Fund, has been a generous and tireless leader for the College, and we owe him a special debt of gratitude. The challenge ahead is that our last campaign numbered only 82 donors with gifts over the six-figure mark. We need to invest in a way to find more prospects and bring them closer to Baruch.

What’s been your experience thus far with Baruch alumni?
Our alumni volunteer leaders are the most dedicated I have ever seen. I was impressed time after time as I met them and saw the level of their commitment to Baruch, regardless of where else they also may have attended school or where their kids attended school. They prize the education they received at Baruch, or City Downtown. I believe that you can see very clear reflections of our alumni in the students on campus today. The students and the alumni can be separated by generations, but they share a sense of getting things done.

You have a Web site called “cloudtravel.” What’s that about?
The site is a noncommercial resource for travelers. I post it at my own expense because I like to write, and writing about travel is an acceptable substitution for actually traveling as much as I would like. The site has content about different practical itineraries. For example, there is an article describing a great driving tour of the western coast of Ireland. I’ve made that drive three times and can’t wait to do it again.

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