Shelley S. Semmler


For over three decades, Shelley has worked in the field of Advancement with both small and large institutions from every non-profit sector.  As Vice President for Institutional Advancement at Ithaca College, she led a team (including marketing and communications) through their first capital campaign.   Prior to Ithaca College, she worked at Cornell in leadership positions with significant involvement in several campaigns.  Her last assignment with Cornell included a two-year, special fundraising effort in Asia.  

Shelley currently serves as a Founding Senior Consultant for Aspen Leadership Group, an executive search and consulting firm; for the last eight years she has led searches in higher education, human services, and other non-profit organizations.  She also works for The Capital Campaign Toolkit, helping organizations reach their potential through campaign through special fundraising initiatives.
For 13 years (from 1999 to 2012) Shelley Semmler was VP of Institutional Advancement and a tireless representative of the College, in Ithaca and around the United States. As the leader of Alumni Relations, Development, Public Information, Sports Information and Marketing Communications, Semmler and her team were on the road, raising awareness and support for Ithaca College.   She worked work closely with Presidents Williams & Rochon and the board of trustees to help develop Ithaca College’s direction and policies.

She was responsible for planning and directing Ithaca College's overall fund-raising effort, supervising the directors of annual giving, corporate and foundation relations, academic funding, planned and leadership giving while she oversaw the recruitment and management of a network of alumni volunteers. 
Shelley led the capital campaign that ended in 2008, raising $145 million which established 140 new endowed scholarships, help build the Dorothy D. and Roy H. Park Center for Business and Sustainable Enterprise, the home of the School of Business, and kick-off the campaign to build the Athletic and Events Center. In 2011 the A&E Center opened with over 2,800 donors & private corporations contributing $52.5 million. In 2009 Shelley and her team also raised $10 million to renovate Dillingham Center.
Mike Serventi ’72 a former member of the board of trustees said, “Shelley kept the A&E project on track the whole time. She was the one to keep everyone focused and say “we can do this.” It’s easy to write a check and name things after yourself or the family, but to me, staff members like Shelley don’t get recognized enough for going beyond their job.”
Shelley helped IC strengthen faculty participation in fund-raising and supervised the development of an integrated marketing plan to communicate and help create a strong, consistent image. Shelley said; “she wanted to help IC communicate with current and prospective students, donors, and employees as well as to alumni and other important audiences.” Shelley helped build relationships with alumni, trustees, faculty, staff and friends of IC that grew stronger and stronger over the years.

She's been referred to as dynamic, fun-loving, hard-working, has boundless energy, and sociable. She was on the road almost as much as she was in her office with former Presidents Williams & Rochon.  Shelly truly loved working at Ithaca College.  She helped make Ithaca College what it is today.

When asked by a reporter from the Ithacan what she thought about IC. Shelley told her, “I simply fell in love with the place. I believe in Ithaca’s future. I leave this place with the deepest sense of gratitude for the opportunity I’ve had to help shape its past success—and the greatness that’s yet to come.