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Michael J. Degenhart, Vice President for Gift Planning, brings more than 25 years of professional experience in development and fundraising with higher education institutions.
Michael is currently the Assistant Vice President of the Office of Gift Planning at The Pennsylvania State University, where he is responsible for the development and implementation of university-wide planned giving efforts for Penn State’s 24 campuses. Widely considered a leader in higher education gift planning and principal gift work, Michael has the unique ability to articulate very technical gift planning techniques in simple, understandable terms for donors. At Penn State, Michael and his office are tasked with a combined gift planning goal of $100 million annually. He was a key member of the senior management team that directed Penn State’s $2 billion For the Future campaign that concluded in 2016 and the $2.1 billion A Greater Penn State campaign that concluded in 2022.
Previously, Michael served for three years as the Assistant Vice President of the Office of Gift Planning at Syracuse University. While at Syracuse, Michael provided strategic leadership to aid central major gift staff and encouraged the consistent use of blended gifts to increase an individual’s giving potential. He was also responsible for reorganizing assignments; streamlining rating systems; and directing gift officers to identify, qualify, and solicit prospects efficiently and effectively.
Michael has also served as the Associate Director of the Office of Trust, Estates & Gift Planning at Cornell University, the Director of Capital Programs at Hampden-Sydney College, and the Director of Development and Gift Planning at the Medical College of Ohio. Before pursuing a career in higher education advancement, Michael was Vice President in the Private Client Group with Robert W. Baird & Co. He has been quoted in Bloomberg Wealth Manager, The Chronicle of Philanthropy, and the Journal of Gift Planning and has authored articles that have appeared in publications such as Planned Giving Today and the Major Gift Report. Michael received his bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Wisconsin, Madison and his Master of Business Administration from the University of Rochester’s Simon School of Business. He is a Certified Fund Raising Executive, an Accredited Estate Planner, and a Chartered Advisor in Philanthropy.
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