(AMHERST, Mass., May 23, 2019) — Betsy Cannon Smith ’84, P’15 was named Amherst College’s Chief Advancement Officer today by President Biddy Martin. Cannon Smith, who has been alumni secretary since 1993, has served the College in a number of key leadership positions within the Advancement division since joining that group in 1986, including with alumni and parent programs, the annual fund, and the leadership gifts component of the College’s comprehensive campaigns. The appointment is effective immediately.
“I am delighted that Betsy will lead our talented advancement team and the Promise campaign efforts,” said Martin. “She has earned the respect and trust of generations of alumni, as well as colleagues and leaders on campus and off. Her comprehensive and deep familiarity with alumni, staff, and faculty is extraordinary, as is her devotion to the College and its mission. I feel fortunate to have her as a partner in our efforts to ensure Amherst realizes its promise."
In addition to leading the College’s Promise campaign, which kicked off in April 2018 and will span its bicentennial celebration in 2021, Cannon Smith will advise the Board of Trustees and Martin on advancement issues and serve on the College’s senior leadership team. She will enhance and execute the strategic plan for advancement by capitalizing on Amherst’s existing philanthropic strengths and identifying new opportunities. She will promote and cultivate alumni and parent engagement with creative programming and will collaborate with departments and colleagues across the College. Cannon Smith, who earned a degree in English from Amherst, has served as the liaison with the Board of Trustees for areas including trusteeships, honorary degrees and medals for eminent service. She also was a member of the 2003 search committee for the College’s president.
“It is an honor and a privilege to serve the College in this role,” said Cannon Smith. “I love this College and working closely with alumni, parents, and friends, as well as the campus community, to make possible the Amherst experience for successive generations of students. I'm thrilled to lead our committed and talented advancement team as we work with those who care so deeply for Amherst.”
Amherst College prepares students to use ideas to make a difference in the world. Since its 1821 founding in Western Massachusetts, Amherst has demonstrated steadfast confidence in the value of the liberal arts and the importance of critical thinking. Today, its financial aid program is among the most substantial in the nation, and its student body is among the most diverse. Small classes, an open curriculum and a singular focus on undergraduate education ensure that leading scholars engage daily with talented, curious students, equipping them for leadership in an increasingly global and complex world.