Dr. Ari Berman, President of Yeshiva University, has announced the appointment of Adam Gerdts as vice president for institutional advancement.  Adam is a veteran advancement professional with deep expertise in the world of higher education after an outstanding career at University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill, for which he led its flagship business school. Adam began his development career in 2002 at Manhattan Theater Club, working on five annual fund campaigns and a highly successful capital campaign to restore Broadway’s Biltmore Theater. In 2006, he moved to higher education fundraising with his work at American Friends of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Adam joined UNC in 2007 as director of the Young Alumni Programs for Carolina Annual Fund within the University of North Carolina Development Office. He came to UNC Kenan-Flagler as a major gift officer in 2008, becoming the executive director of development in 2010. In 2014, Adam was named the associate dean of advancement.


1. What profession did you think you would hold when you were an undergrad?

I entered UNC Chapel Hill as an Air Force ROTC cadet with a math major. I thought about pursuing a career as a pilot, but I changed course sophomore year. I left UNC after graduation for New York, worked in the theatre business, and pursued a career as a director.


2. What aspect of YU are you most passionate about?

I believe strongly in the transformative power of education. The pursuit of knowledge has the ability to lift people up and change their lives for the better. Whether Torah study, science, or the arts, broadening one’s mind is an endeavor more than worth pursuing.


3. How has your past work experience prepared you for this position?

I pursued a career in development based on helping people do good for an organization about which we shared a passion. My career began in the arts at Manhattan Theatre Club and for many years played out at my alma mater UNC Chapel Hill. Throughout that time and indeed all my life, my commitment to the Jewish community has additionally provided experiences to work with donors to do good in the world. My experience across all these sectors will allow me to apply best practices across higher education, non-profit, and Jewish philanthropy to increase philanthropic revenue for the benefit of YU students, faculty, staff and the world beyond our campuses.


4. What are some of your goals for YU’s Office of Institutional Advancement?

Alumni and donors can help transform the student experience, recruit and retain great faculty, and connect with the Jewish community, the state of Israel and beyond. I look forward to working tirelessly alongside university leadership and the institutional advancement team to increase private philanthropic support of YU.


5. What would your colleagues be surprised to learn about you?

My family moved often during my childhood, as my father worked as a dentist in the US Air Force. We lived in Washington DC; Tampa, FL; San Antonio, TX; Haughton, LA; Egelsbach, Germany; before landing in Goldsboro, NC, which is how I ended up at UNC. My parents then went on to Okinawa, Japan; Vacaville, CA; then back to Washington DC where my father retired from active duty.



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