Adam Neal joins College of Education team as new director of Advancement

Adam Neal
Adam Neal

Adam Neal, an alum of the NIU College of Education, returned Monday, Oct. 1, to Graham Hall to serve as the new director of Advancement.

Neal comes from the College of Business, where he has served in a similar role for the past nine months, but his time at NIU begins more than a decade ago in the Department of Counseling, Adult and Higher Education.

He earned an M.S.Ed. in Adult and Higher Education, with a concentration in Human Resource Development, in 2010. During those years of study, he worked as a graduate assistant for the Office of the Vice President in what was known then as the Division of Student Affairs & Enrollment Management.

That role transitioned into full-time employment as professional development coordinator; Neal then was asked in 2011 to lead fundraising efforts for the division.

“I am thrilled to return to my home college,” Neal says. “I am excited to contribute to Dr. Elish-Piper’s efforts to provide an exceptional experience for the students we serve. I also am grateful for the opportunity to work with talented and dedicated colleagues, and look forward to getting to know more faculty members, students, and alumni through my work.”

Dean Laurie Elish-Piper is excited to welcome Neal back to his alma mater.

“I am confident that Adam will be able to help us build and implement a robust fundraising program in the College of Education,” Elish-Piper says. “We will also have the benefit of Judy Schneider continuing to do planned giving work for the college.”

Recent accomplishments on Neal’s resume buoy Elish-Piper’s conviction of good days to come.

Following his departure from NIU in 2013 to serve as assistant vice president for University Advancement and vice president of the West Virginia State University Foundation, he worked collaboratively to raise funds and to strengthen the back-end operations of the foundation.

When the institution began its first comprehensive capital campaign that year, it would eventually surpass its initial $9 million goal with a total of $19.6 million raised by 2016.

Most recently, Neal served as vice president for University Advancement at Ohio Dominican University in Columbus.

His legacy there is working with university and community leaders to start a Doctor of Physical Therapy program, successfully raising $2.4 million in just over a year. This included a $1 million gift, the second largest in the institution’s history.

Coming back to northern Illinois brings him closer to his family, most of whom are in the Mendota/Compton area along with Cortland and Waterman. He and his family – wife, Karla, and children Benjamin (13), Emma (6) and Anna (14 months) – live in Sycamore.

It also renews an academic and professional connection that he treasures.

“Throughout my years at NIU, as a student and employee, I learned about its rich history and became a passionate supporter of our mission,” Neal says. “I find so much joy and fulfillment from working with alumni to provide scholarship and programmatic support for our hard-working students.”

Beyond his busy family life, he puts his degree in Music Business from Western Illinois University to good use by continuing to play saxophone with local bands.

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