Wilch leaving Cornell College

Cornell College has announced that Peter Wilch, vice president for alumni and college advancement, is leaving to accept the position of vice president for university development at the University of San Francisco. He will begin in his new position in California on June 1.

Ruth Keefe Miller ’66

Former alumni director Ruth Keefe Miller ’66 will assume interim leadership of the division, said Cornell President Jonathan Brand. Miller served as alumni director for over eight years before retiring in 2007. Kristi Webster Columbus ’96, director of development, will assist Miller with day-to-day operations of the division.

“I’m excited to serve the college once again and work with the wonderful group of  professionals in alumni and college advancement,” Miller said. “I truly believe in the college’s mission,  its outstanding faculty and the student body we all serve.”

A Mount Vernon native and 1994 graduate of Cornell, Wilch oversaw the $105.8 million

Kristi Webster Columbus ’96

Extraordinary Opportunities Campaign, the largest campaign ever by a private liberal arts college in Iowa, in which nearly 60 percent of Cornell alumni participated.  Since joining Cornell in 2006, Wilch led the offices of college advancement, marketing and communications and alumni relations. Wilch previously worked in development at Grinnell College and at the University of Iowa Foundation directing fund raising for the University of Iowa College of Law.

Wilch has served as a trustee of the Mount Vernon Community School District Foundation and a member of the school district’s Facility Planning Advisory Committee and has been an active member at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Mount Vernon.

Peter Wilch ’94

“I am and always will be a fiercely loyal Cornellian and Mount Vernonite,” Wilch said.  “It has been an honor to serve my alma mater in my hometown for the past six years and I am excited for the future of Cornell under President Jonathan Brand’s strong leadership.”

The University of San Francisco is a private Jesuit Catholic university located in the Lone Mountain neighborhood  adjacent to San Francisco’s North Panhandle district. Founded in 1855, the university has a total enrollment of approximately 9,000 with 6,000 undergraduates and 3,000 graduate and professional school students. Wilch will lead a team of 40 development, advancement services and alumni relations staff at USF.

“Peter’s work over the past six years has made Cornell a better place,” Brand said. “His dedication and leadership have positioned the college for even greater accomplishments, and we wish him the absolute best in his new role.”

Wilch is married to Melanie Lucero Wilch ’92, who teaches first grade in Lisbon. The couple has four children.

The college will commence immediately with a national search to find Wilch’s successor.