Thomas A. Baird, a longtime University of Michigan fundraiser, has been named the university’s next vice president for development. His appointment was approved Thursday by the Board of Regents.
Baird, a U-M graduate and resident of Ann Arbor, has spent the last three years as assistant dean for advancement at LSA, where he led the team that raised $538 million for the university’s largest school or college as the Victors for Michigan edges closer to a highly successful conclusion.
Baird’s appointment is effective Jan. 1. He will succeed Jerry May, who will cap a career spanning 29 years in U-M fundraising when he retires at the end of the year.
“I’m confident Tom Baird is the right person to carry on the tradition of close partnerships with donors as we begin to develop the institution’s strategy for the next chapter of philanthropy and donor relations for U-M,” President Mark Schlissel said in recommending Baird for the position.
As vice president, Baird will have overall leadership responsibility for fundraising and development across the university. This includes leading the central Office of University Development as well as oversight of unit fundraising and development including Michigan Medicine.
The vice president for development reports to the president and serves as an executive officer of the university.
“It is a privilege and an honor to be asked to lead the critically important fundraising enterprise at the University of Michigan,” Baird said. “To be able to do this at my alma mater — the university I love — is a tremendous bonus.”
Baird has led LSA fundraising since 2015. In this role, he led of team of more than 85 staff members that over-achieved by reaching 135 percent of LSA’s Victors for Michigan campaign goal.
Prior to joining in LSA, Baird had a long and successful career in U-M fundraising. During his 23 years at the university, he has had the top position in several major development efforts. He was vice chancellor for advancement for UM-Dearborn (2003-11), assistant vice president and Victors for Michigan campaign director (2011-15), and he stepped in to lead fundraising as the interim associate vice president of development for Michigan Medicine during a time of transition in 2015. Earlier he served as interim assistant dean of development for LSA.
Prior to his career in university fundraising, Baird worked in the financial services and airline industries. He earned a bachelor’s degree in American studies from U-M and a master’s degree in human resources education from Boston University.