WESTMINSTER -- Stevenson W. Close Jr. was recently selected as the new associate vice president and director of development at Western Maryland College.
Mr. Close, formerly the senior director of institutional advancement at the National Aquarium in Baltimore, began his job at the college July 1.
The 43-year-old Baltimore County resident said WMC leaders and a desire to return to education attracted him to his new position.
"I have been at the aquarium for seven years, and I had been thinking about getting back into higher education," Mr. Close said. "I was drawn to Western Maryland because of Richard Seaman [vice president of institutional advancement] and Robert Chambers [president].
"Seaman was a signal to me that the college was serious about its fund raising, and Bob Chambers has provided good leadership, which is needed for any school to be successful in fund raising."
Mr. Seaman said Mr. Close was selected from an applicant pool of some 132 "very qualified" individuals.
"We are delighted to have a person of Steve Close's quality and professionalism join the College," Mr. Seaman said. "He brings with him an enormously successful fund-raising career and a special commitment to the values of a liberal arts education. His leadership will play a dominant role as the college broadens its advancement outreach."
Settling into his new role, Mr. Close said, "We would like to build a stronger development program at the college. This would include the annual giving, support for the endowments and the capital building and renovation program. I see this as not a short-term thing for myself, but a five- to 10-year comprehensive campaign."
While at the National Aquarium, Mr. Close worked closely with business and legislative leaders from the metropolitan area.
His major fund-raising endeavor while at the aquarium was the five-year, $40 million Marine Mammal Pavilion, which opened at the end of last year.
From 1982 to 1985, Mr. Close was the institutional campaign director at Johns Hopkins University, where he was responsible for the planning and organization of a five-year campaign with an initial goal of $450 million.
Before going to Hopkins, Mr. Close worked five years at his alma mater, Cornell University, where he participated in a capital campaign.
In the early 1970s, he was the director of activities and assistant director of admissions at Maryville College in St. Louis, Mo.
A native of Harford County, Mr. Close graduated from Cornell University in 1971 with a bachelor of science degree in education.
In 1973, he earned his master's in student personnel administration from Ohio State University.
Mr. Close and his wife, Lisa, plan to move to Carroll County from Towson. They have two daughters, Emily, 18, and Ariel, 15.