Thursday, February 22, 2018

VP for College Advancement Discusses Retirement

By Joe DiBacco ’18

Staff Writer

John Fracasso, Trinity’s Vice President of Advancement, is retiring after the 2016-2017 school year. Trinity’s Advancement Office is tasked with the promotion of Trinity’s mission, raising awareness of its goals and values, and fostering mutually-beneficial relationships between Trinity and its constituents, primarily alumni, students, and their families. Advancement is a crucial venture at Trinity in that, if done well, can be quite fruitful. Benefits of productive advancement include networking and internship opportunities for students, and a consistent stream of monetary donations for the school that can be used to improve the Trinity experience for the student body. Donations can be used for projects such as the construction of new academic buildings and athletic facilities, or the installation of air conditioning in all of the residence halls.

John Fracasso began his work as Trinity’s Vice President of Advancement on Aug. 1, 2012. Prior to coming to Trinity, Fracasso held positions in the advancement departments at various colleges, including Yale, Duke, Brown, and the University of Maryland. While he began working at Trinity in 2012, Fracasso’s first experience ‘Neath the Elms’ was 30 years prior when he was a graduate student studying under then Professor James Wheatley, whom Fracasso said, “epitomized the high quality of the faculty and curriculum.”

Fracasso told the Tripod that he is retiring primarily because Trinity is about to begin another fundraising campaign, which requires at least a five-year commitment from the head of advancement. This would have been difficult for Fracasso because his primary residence is in Rhode Island, where his wife works as a government official.

He said that commuting back and forth between Hartford and Rhode Island is a concession he is no longer willing to make for the job he loves. After discussing the situation with his family, it was decided that “it was time to end the commute, which prevents me from being at Trinity for another five years.” At this period in time, Fracasso wants to permanently support his wife’s career in government and law, as well as help his son, who is graduating from college next year, navigate the internship and job application process.

As far as what he’ll do in his free time, Fracasso said, “Last summer I fulfilled a lifelong ambition to get my motorcycle permit and look forward to indulging that hobby.”

Fracasso had nothing but great things to say about his time at Trinity, and was not shy about saying so. Reflecting on his years here, he told the Tripod, “My time at Trinity has been a peak experience for me professionally; it’s been my privilege to lead College Advancement.”

Since coming here in 1982 to take graduate classes, Fracasso considers himself to be a proud Bantam with many fond memories. Fracasso is content with what he’s accomplished in his career, and he is ready to step down to let someone else take his place. “The timing is ideal to pass the baton to a successor who will partner with the president through the next campaign,” Fracasso told the Tripod in an interview.

During an interview with President Berger-Sweeney on Nov. 17, the Tripod’s Annelise Gilbert ’17 inquired about the circumstances of Fracasso’s retirement. Gilbert mentioned that there were some rumors circulating that claimed Fracasso was actually fired. In response, Berger-Sweeney said, “I do not believe that I should discuss any personnel matters with the general public…I don’t think that’s appropriate.” Berger-Sweeney added that Fracasso was in the process of preparing his own statement that will address the reasons why he is leaving. She went on to say that she was shocked at the rumor-mongering that takes place at Trinity. “I’ve heard at least three rumors that I’m leaving to go to places that are non-existent,” she said with a hint of irritation in her voice.
When the Tripod interviewed Fracasso, he was travelling, which could be the reason why he has not released his retirement letter yet.

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