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New VP to Orchestrate a Culture of Philanthropy


Over the years, Mary F. Hastings observed MCLA’s growing visibility as the campus gained repeated recognition, including its inclusion by U.S. News & World Report as a National Top Ten Public Liberal Arts College. Now, as our new vice president of institutional advancement, she will play a key role in supporting the College’s success.

Hastings’ arrival at MCLA also marks her return to the Berkshires she loves. She grew up in nearby Williamstown, where she became an accomplished musician. She’s performed at Tanglewood, and with the Williamstown Theatre Festival, the Williams College Jazz Band and the Berkshire Symphony.

The experiences served to launch her into the New York City conservatory system, and she went on to attend the Manhattan School of Music and The Juilliard School.

“Williamstown and the seriousness of music in the Berkshires shaped me as a young musician,” said Hastings, a professional trumpeter who continues to teach trumpet, and who's also an active Broadway and classical music performer.

“I was watching MCLA. My nephew attended here, and he loved it. He was all in,” Hastings said. “I was very intrigued with all of the good things I saw happening at MCLA and wondered, ‘How are they doing this? Boy, they must have quite a faculty and staff.’”

For the past five years, Hastings served as the executive director of the London Symphony Orchestra’s American Foundation in New York City. “So I was back and forth from London,” she explained. “We were the fundraising arm in the United States, sponsoring their tours to the U.S.”

Previous positions included those as the acting chief development officer for The Boys’ Club of New York; director of development for The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music and The New School for Drama; director of special events for The Foundation for Jewish Culture; and director of education and community outreach at the Bloomingdale School of Music.

In addition, Hastings served on the faculties of Queens College and Hunter College in New York City. Like MCLA, both are public universities.

With her experience in development and expertise in fundraising, combined with her background in education and the arts, Hastings is ideally suited for her new position at MCLA.

The timing of MCLA’s open Advancement position was perfect for Hastings. Now, she seeks to tell MCLA’s story as she garners private support.

“Anybody that I work with philanthropically has to enjoy the culture of philanthropy that I’m speaking to them about,” Hastings said. “I don’t just want them to write a check. I want them to partner in the funding and to give more than once as they invest in the entire person or the project – whatever it might be.”

Building a base of support – financial and otherwise – is vital, Hastings said. It’s her style, she explained, to create relationships in much the same way she interacts with an audience when she performs her trumpet on stage.

“My feeling is that MCLA is just beginning to look at a circle of giving, a culture of philanthropy,” she said. “How do we choreograph this? That is going to push us forward.”