Woman in Philanthropy Spotlight: Nancy Gillece, Vice President for Institutional Advancement, Hood College

Nancy Gillece

Nancy Gillece leads Hood College’s Office of Institutional Advancement, which is responsible for annual and planned giving, alumni relations, major gifts, and corporate and foundation relations. In this role, she also serves on the president’s six-member executive committee.

After graduating from Hood with a bachelor’s degree in political science, she served for five years as an admission counselor and later as the associate director of the College’s Office of Admission. She was appointed the director of admission in 1986 and served in that position for 10 years. From October 1996 to July 1998, she served as a major gifts officer for the College.

After serving in fundraising and then as executive assistant to the president and secretary of the corporation at Mount St. Mary’s between 2000 and 2004, Nancy returned to Hood as its sole major gifts officer.

Nancy is a member of Rotary Club of Frederick and serves on the board of directors for Advocates for Homeless Families and Catholic Charities of Frederick, Villa Maria Continuum. She is a member of the National Committee on Planned Giving/Chesapeake Planned Giving Council and the Maryland Women’s Network Steering Committee. She was a member of the inaugural class of the Chamber of Commerce Leadership Frederick County in 1986.

Q: What drew you to a career in advancement?

I’m not sure many, if any, of us, ever imagine a career in advancement. I began my career in higher education, specifically in college admissions. That opened doors for me and introduced me to the world of advancement. I learned that I can be passionate about education and can effectively tell the story that transforms lives.

Q: What is your favorite part of your job?

Truly the favorite part of my job is meeting so many people in various stages of their lives. While there is great professional satisfaction in closing a significant gift and experiencing the joy of enhancing the institution, I am often amazed by the places I go and the people I meet. It spans all industries and professions, and I feel enriched by the conversations and relationships I have with so many individuals.

Q: What early leadership lessons have most benefited you?

Advancement is about building relationships. I have had the privilege of working with dedicated and sincere professionals who care about donors while advancing their institutions. I’ve learned that listening is a critical skill and making connections is the key to success.

Q: What advice would you give a young person entering the profession?

I encourage young professionals to consider a career in advancement! If someone entering the job market has experience in fundraising, she or he will have many opportunities for employment and possibly a very fulfilling career. I encourage those entering the field to take advantage of mentoring opportunities and to engage with experienced professionals. I gave my daughter this advice when she entered college. After dabbling in other fields, she pursued a position in fundraising that served her well.

Q: Do you have a favorite quote that motivates you?

“We may encounter many defeats but we must not be defeated.” Maya Angelou


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About the author

Elizabeth Kolb Farr

Senior Vice President and Independent Schools Practice Leader

Elizabeth Kolb Farr, Senior Vice President, joined GG+A in 2017 and, in 2021, assumed leadership of the firm’s Independent Schools Practice Area. Liz serves the firm’s independent school and higher education clients, supporting them in identifying and seizing opportunities for fundraising growth. She holds particular expertise in instituting and orchestrating…