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Office of the Vice Chancellor for Institutional Advancement

Our stories

The best people to tell you about Illinois are the people who already work here. We hope you enjoy reading about their experiences. We are very fortunate to have such wonderful professionals to call coworkers.


Paul Osterhout

Paul Osterhout wears two hats at Illinois. He is Associate Dean for Advancement, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (LAS), and also Associate Vice President, University of Illinois Foundation.  Because LAS follows the advancement model, Paul's LAS team oversees alumni relations, communications and marketing, special events, annual giving and major gifts for the College.

PaulLike many in this business, Paul kind of wandered into advancement. He is a musician by training, finishing his PhD in musicology at the University of Michigan in 1978. His development career started at Oakland University where, over nine years he moved from a research position through the ranks to Director of Development for the campus and Acting VP for the Foundation. He then moved to Michigan State as Chief Development Officer, Eli Broad College of Business for 6 years.  He joined the University of Illinois in 1999.

Paul sees advancement as a big and increasingly important job. "To engage our alumni, make them feel connected and then gain their financial support takes time and long-term relationship building. It takes everyone working together to make it happen.  Economic circumstances require universities to rely more and more on philanthropy. Being at the center of an increasingly important focus of the University is personally rewarding."

For Paul, people make the difference. "This is a people business," he states.  "It's been a pleasure meeting and becoming friends with so many Illinois alumni as well as with scores of colleagues across campus.



Elizabeth Cook

Elizabeth Cook is a self-proclaimed townie. And proud of it. Elizabeth said, “My parents earned advanced degrees at Illinois and decided to make Champaign their home. It’s been said that it takes a village to raise a child; in my case that village was the University of Illinois. From Saturday morning art classes sponsored by the College of Fine and Applied Arts to playing games on PLATO in the computer lab to learning about cows at the College of Veterinary Medicine’s annual open house to performing in the chorus of Hansel and Gretel at the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, as a child I spent as much time on campus as I did in my own backyard.”

CookAs Assistant Director of Annual Giving Programs for Communications Elizabeth works with units across campus to craft annul fund messages and implement a comprehensive annual fund communications plan at the campus-level.

Developing those messages comes easily to Elizabeth due in part to her connections with campus and her enthusiasm for our programs. “Illinois is a world-class public research university. I’m passionate about the exceptional education we provide to students and the transformative research that is pursued on our campus. I’m able to see on a daily basis the impact annual gifts make at Illinois.” 



Melissa McKillip

Melissa McKillip is one of the newer additions to the Advancement Team at Illinois. She is Development Director for the Institute for Genomic Biology (IGB). Her responsibilities include creating an innovative, successful and sustainable development program for IGB.

MelissaMelissa is no stranger to development or to Illinois. Prior to joining our team she was a development officer for Johnson and Whales University, Denver campus, and for Special Olympics Colorado. She is also an Illinois alum. In fact, she credits her first job in the School of Architecture with introducing her to development.

Like many of our advancement team, Melissa’s favorite part of the job is the people. She is surrounded by faculty, staff and students doing cutting edge research in an interdisciplinary environment. If you haven’t seen the facility, be sure and ask for a tour. It’s amazing.

Melissa finds that the size of Illinois is an advantage for advancement professionals. “There is a diversity of resources that you just don’t find everywhere. Plus I really appreciate the chance for mentoring and learning about all areas of advancement from alumni relations and the annual fund to major gifts and planned giving,” said Melissa.