National Collegiate Honors Council


Date of this Version



Chapter 9 in Honors Colleges in the 21st Century; Richard Badenhausen, editor

Pages 239–250

ISBN: 978-1-945001-21-5

National Collegiate Honors Council Monograph Series; Jeffrey A. Portnoy, series editor

Published by the National Collegiate Honors Council, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln, Nebraska, United States


Copyright 2023, National Collegiate Honors Council. Used by permission


Honors administrators, particularly honors college deans, find themselves in positions not necessarily equivalent to academic deans in other disciplines. Often, honors college deans function more like provosts in that they need to attend to multiple disciplines simultaneously, while also often carrying obligations in teaching and advising. In addition, the initiation, cultivation, and stewardship of donors to the college are essential components to the honors college dean’s portfolio. This task may be particularly challenging for a dean in honors in that many potential donors are intellectually and emotionally tied to their specific major and/or school or college. And yet, fundraising, especially in the post-COVID world, will be an even more necessary practice for the health of the honors college. This chapter explores the importance fundraising and stewardship play in the professional life of the honors college dean as well as the ties a dean as a public figure has to those practices. Taking as my point of departure the public persona of an honors college dean, I demonstrate why and how the dean becomes not only the head cheerleader of the honors college, but its chief storyteller as well. Weaving in some best practices, I also review current best practices as articulated in philanthropic and higher education scholarship. Taking both a theoretical and practical stance, this essay outlines the importance of establishing a working relationship with the institution’s advancement services office, as well as alumni relations, the community and other institutional partners, and the role the institutional president must play. The chapter also considers the role honors college deans and their donors play in the overall reputation of an honors college after a major gift is secured.