Carleton names Daren Batke vice president for development and alumni relations

Batke comes to Carleton from the University of Michigan Ross School of Business, where he has served as chief advancement officer since 2019.

29 January 2024 Posted In:
Headshot of Daren Batke.
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Following a national search, Daren Batke has been named vice president for development and alumni relations at Carleton College. Batke will begin his new role on April 1, 2024, joining the President’s Cabinet and providing strategic direction and leadership for the College in the areas of development, alumni relations, parent and family relations, and grants. He arrives at a pivotal moment, as the College has just launched its strategic direction, Carleton 2033: The Liberal Arts in Action, and is preparing to identify funding priorities and build the infrastructure for Carleton’s next capital campaign. 

“I am delighted that at this important moment for the College, Carleton will have the benefit of Daren’s energy, experience, and commitment to relationship-building,” President Alison Byerly said. “I know that as a liberal arts college graduate himself, he is excited to help Carleton make the case for why the extraordinary education we offer is worth supporting.”

Batke brings extensive experience in fundraising, development, and advancement to Carleton, with 20 years spent working in higher education. He began his career at the University of Michigan Law School in the Office of Development and worked his way up to senior regional director of major giving. He then took the role of executive director of development at the University of Chicago Law School, where he designed the school’s major and annual giving programs and ran its capital campaign. Batke transitioned next to the role of associate dean of advancement at Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law, where his team raised over $250M in a comprehensive campaign and implemented the school’s $100M naming gift. Since 2019, Batke has been the chief advancement officer at the University of Michigan Ross School of Business, responsible for establishing the long-range strategies, goals, and policies for development and alumni relations at the school.

As Carleton’s vice president for development and alumni relations, Batke will lead a team of 58 to carry out all components of development and alumni relations, including capital giving, major and planned gifts, the Alumni Annual Fund, alumni relations, parent and family relations, stewardship, and grants.

“Liberal arts colleges have a transformative power over individuals—myself included—and a profound significance in shaping our world. Carleton, in particular, stands out in this way,” Batke said. “I am eager to serve the College, and I look forward to partnering with alumni, students, faculty, and staff to preserve Carleton’s strengths and propel it to ever greater eminence.”

Batke’s strong belief that true advancement work is collaborative will be an asset in his new role at Carleton. At Northwestern, he worked across the university to help establish new interdisciplinary programs around the intersection of law, business, and technology. Fostering those partnerships, he said, was critical to maximizing philanthropy and to enriching the student learning experience, while building on faculty research and scholarship.

After completing his BA in political science from the College of Wooster, Batke went on to earn his MA in higher education and public policy from the University of Michigan–Ann Arbor. He completed significant coursework toward a PhD in organizational behavior and management through the Center for the Study of Higher and Postsecondary Education at the University of Michigan, and has also completed professional development through the Institute for Management and Leadership in Education at Harvard University and the Booth School of Business at University of Chicago.

Batke succeeds Tommy Bonner, who served as vice president for external relations from 2014–23. Dan Rustad has served as interim vice president since June 2023 and will return to his role as associate vice president for development upon Batke’s arrival.

The search for Carleton’s vice president for development and alumni relations began in July of 2023. A nine-member search committee chaired by Elise Eslinger ’92, vice president and chief of staff, included: Jaime Anthony ’06, senior associate dean and director of admissions systems; Vinaya Chepuri ’82, P ’17, trustee; Helen Clarke, associate vice president for communications; Micah Evans ’02, alumni association president; Leslie Kautz ’80, P ’15, trustee; Jeff Ondich P ’12, P ’15, John E. Sawyer professor of liberal learning and professor of mathematics and computer science; Yansi Pérez, associate provost, director of advising, and professor of Spanish; and Pam Kiecker Royall ’80, trustee. The group was assisted by Lindauer Global, an executive search firm focusing on nonprofit organizations.

About Carleton College

Consistently ranked among the nation’s top liberal arts institutions, Carleton is a private coeducational college of about 2,000 students located in the historic river town of Northfield, Minnesota, 40 miles south of the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul. High academic standards, a national reputation for outstanding professors, and a diverse student body contribute to Carleton’s success. The College has been ranked by U.S. News & World Report as the number one institution for undergraduate teaching for 13 straight years. Learn more about Carleton on the College website.