Successful fund raising is many things: An art. A
science. The result of great skill. Sometimes, the result
of great good luck.
One thing it is not, says Michael C. Eicher, is an
"My underlying philosophy is that this is very much a
team venture," said Eicher, appointed last week as vice
president for development
and alumni relations at Johns Hopkins. "It's about the
quality of the academic initiatives, and the commitment of
the leadership, the volunteers, the trustees, the faculty
"It's impossible to peel any one of those apart. It's
about the whole," Eicher said. "What's fun about a job like
mine is that you become kind of an orchestra leader. You
get to try to lead all these folks who are playing this
beautiful music together."
Eicher will join Johns Hopkins Sept. 1, leading the
players — or calling the plays, if you prefer the
team metaphor — for fund raising for both the
university and Johns Hopkins Medicine. He will also have
overall responsibility for strengthening relationships with
alumni and other friends of Johns Hopkins.
He has spent nearly 20 years at the University of
California, Los Angeles, where, as vice chancellor for
external affairs, he and his team last year concluded
Campaign UCLA, a 10-year effort that raised $3.05 billion.
That was a record for U.S. universities, according to The
Chronicle of Higher Education.
"The committee I charged with identifying [former vice
president] Bob Lindgren's successor concluded that Mike
Eicher is the right choice for Johns Hopkins," President
William R. Brody said in an e-mail message announcing
trustee approval of the appointment. "I fully concur, and
am delighted that Mike has determined that Johns Hopkins is
the right choice for him at this point in his career."
Eicher said that Brody himself was the major factor in
that choice. "Bill Brody is one of the great university
presidents in the country and has built a tremendous team
of folks there," he said. "He is an extraordinary leader,
and the opportunity to work with him is very, very
Eicher will assume leadership for the Johns Hopkins:
Knowledge for the World campaign, an effort under way since
2000. Though it has already met its $2 billion overall
goal, the campaign, announced as a seven-year effort,
continues to solicit support for critical unmet needs,
including student aid and faculty chairs, construction of
hospital buildings and renovation projects such as
Homewood's Gilman Hall.
"With Mike's arrival," Brody said in his message, "I
know that Johns Hopkins will continue to make a strong and
effective case for the vital work that you — our
faculty, students, health care professionals and staff
— do every day."
Eicher has been vice chancellor at UCLA since 1998 but
has been with the univers- ity since 1986. He rose from
associate director of development in the School of Medicine
to deputy director and director, and from there to vice
provost for medical science development, assistant and
associate vice chancellor before landing his current
"I'm very excited about this opportunity," Eicher
said. "Johns Hopkins is a stellar place, filled with
wonderful people, and it's a great honor to join that
team." Though he is, in many ways, sad to leave UCLA, he
also believes this is the right time for him to depart.
"I've been here almost 20 years," he said in a
telephone interview from his Westwood office. "The campaign
was the culmination of my time here, but that's finished.
It's time for different challenges. The opportunity to do
this kind of work at another great institution — but
one completely different from UCLA, a private institution
on the East Coast — is just an exciting
Chancellor Albert Carnesale said Eicher's impact at
UCLA will be felt "for generations to come."
"Mike's tenure at UCLA has been marked by bold vision,
keen judgment, integrity and steady leadership," the
chancellor wrote in an announcement to the campus
community. "The partnerships he forged with academic
officers and volunteers who give of their time, wisdom and
resources allowed us to reach new heights in our
Eicher said he looks forward to establishing similarly
productive relationships at Johns Hopkins.
"I've known Bill Brody and Bob Lindgren and a lot of
the team members at Johns Hopkins for a long time, and I
have had the deepest respect for what's going on at Hopkins
in development and alumni relations," he said. "There's a
very high degree of teamwork. As I met with the deans and
the other leadership, there seems to be something really
special going on at Hopkins."