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Columbia Spectator Staff

Longtime Columbian Donna MacPhee, CC '89, will begin her tenure as vice president for alumni relations and president of the Columbia Alumni Association on Oct. 6, 2008, University President Lee Bollinger announced in an e-mail to students Monday.

MacPhee graduated from Columbia College as part of its third coed class. She earned her MBA from New York University's Stern School of Business before managing the finances of professional athletics companies. For the last ten years, she has worked as the co-founder and manager of Event Management Associates.

Bollinger emphasized her qualifications in the e-mail. "Along with a deep commitment to her University, Donna brings two decades of experience in events, marketing, and financial management to her new position," he wrote.

MacPhee said her connection with the University enticed her to return to it. "I've really enjoyed staying involved in the Columbia community ever since I graduated in '89," MacPhee said. "When this position became available, it seemed like a great opportunity to get further involved in the University."

Her appointment comes during Columbia's $4 billion capital campaign, a time when alumni giving plays an even larger role than usual. National and statewide economic conditions will likely impact her workload. She joins the Columbia Alumni Association during its fourth year, as it works towards opening a new Columbia Alumni Center in early 2009.

MacPhee will replace Eric Furda, who left Columbia in February 2008 to serve as director of undergraduate admissions at the University of Pennsylvania. Furda served as director of undergraduate admissions for Columbia College and the School of Engineering and Applied Science from 1995 to 2004, a period over which admission rates dropped and SAT scores rose at the two schools. For the last four years, Furda was the University's first vice president for alumni relations.

"It [the position] encompassed the depth and breadth of her past experience," said Ken Catandella, executive director of alumni affairs and development for Columbia College. "She's been connected to the Columbia family in a lot of ways."

As an undergraduate at Columbia, MacPhee played on the varsity tennis team. According to Bollinger's e-mail, "She has remained involved in Columbia athletics over the years as an alumna, serving on numerous committees and co-founding the Women's Leadership Council." Bollinger added in the e-mail that he expects MacPhee's leadership will increasingly engage alumni around the world.

"We're very excited to have her here," Catandella said. "All of us appreciate her professional experience and affection for Columbia, and look forward to having her on board."

MacPhee was enthusiastic as well. "Throughout the interview process, I've met so many people, and I look forward to meeting more and learning more about the alumni groups at Columbia," she said.

MacPhee said she wants to learn as much as she can before setting goals for Alumni Affairs. "Ask me that question in about four months," she said.

Mary Kohlmann contributed reporting to this article.

Alumni Relations