Orton Named Director of Leadership Giving

Monday, February 14, 2022

Mercersburg Academy is pleased to welcome Sue Orton to the Office of Advancement and Alumni Relations as director of leadership giving, effective February 21. Orton comes to Mercersburg from Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, NY, where she has worked for almost a decade and held several positions, including senior director of leadership gifts, director of leadership gifts and gift planning, and leadership gifts officer. 

Orton also brings fundraising experience from Bates College in Maine, where she was director of foundation, corporate, and government relations; Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York, where she served as the senior advancement officer for foundation relations; and the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute in Massachusetts, where she held the position of manager of research and prospect management. 

“It is an honor to join a school as distinguished as Mercersburg, which is well known for providing an exceptional, holistic education to its students,” Orton says. “I am very happy to become part of the Mercersburg community.”

Highlights of Orton’s tenure at Vassar include directing the college’s leadership gifts program in 2020 that raised $12.1 million in new gifts, pledges, and documented bequests. Also in 2020, she personally raised $3.5 million and, as a member of Vassar’s advancement team, participated in planning the quiet phase of Vassar’s upcoming multimillion dollar campaign.

“We are excited to have Sue join our team,” says Carolyn Yeager P ’20, ’21, interim chief advancement officer. “Mercersburg will benefit from her strong fundraising skills and wide breadth of advancement experience. I look forward to introducing her to Mercersburg’s alumni and parents.”

Other recent staffing changes within the Office of Advancement and Alumni Relations include the departure of Chief Advancement Officer Bill Kissick, who has accepted the chief advancement officer position at the Kent School in Connecticut and will begin to lead Kent into its next campaign. 

“While our community will greatly miss Bill’s unparalleled fundraising knowledge, integrity, and quick wit on campus, we know he is making the best decision for him and his family and we wish him well,” says Acting Head of School Quentin McDowell P ’25. Kissick’s last day was February 11.

With Kissick’s departure, the school has asked Yeager to lead the office as the interim chief advancement officer. No stranger to the advancement team, she came to Mercersburg in 2014 from Dickinson College, where she served in a number of senior roles during her 17 years there. Yeager’s nearly 30 years in advancement work have included leadership for Dickinson’s $209 million First in America campaign and Mercersburg’s $300 million Daring to Lead campaign. She had previously served as the school’s chief development officer.