President Jorge G. Gonzalez announced today that Karen Isble will join Kalamazoo College as the institution’s new vice president for advancement. Isble, associate vice chancellor and campaign director for university advancement at University of California, Irvine, will begin her new role on Sept. 14, 2020.
“Karen has had a long and successful career in advancement and administration, both in higher education and the nonprofit sector, and I’m confident that her expertise will allow us to build upon our past successes,” said Gonzalez. “She is smart, thoughtful, and passionate about opening the doors of K to students from all backgrounds.”
Isble joined UC Irvine in 2017 and led the planning and execution of the university’s $2 billion comprehensive multi-year campaign, “Brilliant Future.” In this role, she worked with campus leadership, deans, unit directors, faculty members, foundation trustees, volunteers and advancement staff to foster partnerships, create awareness, and coordinate the activities which support the university’s campaign fundraising goals.
Prior to joining UC Irvine, Isble served as assistant vice president for development at the University of Michigan. During her 11 years at Michigan, she oversaw the prospect development, data and technology infrastructure for the 600-member development staff community, covering 36 schools, colleges, units, and the academic medical center. Isble also played an integral role in the university’s $5.3 billion “Victors for Michigan” campaign, coordinating multiple aspects of campaign planning, and working with campaign counsel, volunteers, donors and university leadership.
A Detroit native, Isble worked in arts administration and fundraising roles at the Chamber Music Society of Detroit, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the Goodman Theatre prior to joining University of Michigan. She served for five years on the board of Apra, serving as president in 2013-14. She has been a speaker and author, regionally and nationally, with Apra, CASE and AFP, among others. Isble earned her bachelor’s degree from Harvard University and her master’s degree from the University of Michigan.
“I’m absolutely delighted to be joining K, and I look forward to working across campus and with the community to ensure we can continue to make a transformational impact on its students for generations to come,” Isble says. “The opportunity to create a sustainable future for K through philanthropy and alumni engagement is an exciting challenge that I’m honored to undertake.”
Isble succeeds Vice President for Advancement Al DeSimone, who retired on July 1 after nearly a decade at the College. She was selected after a competitive nationwide search conducted by an on-campus committee with the assistance of Storbeck Search & Associates, an executive search firm specializing in the education and non-profit sectors. Comprised of faculty, staff and trustees, the committee was chaired by Provost Danette Ifert Johnson.