University Relations Debuts New Name, Moves Offices to Main Street with Financial Services

Office of Advancement

The Office of Advancement, formerly University Relations, has moved to 291 Main Street, allowing all staff members to work together in one location. The building also contains the Finance Office. Constructed in 1916, the building housed the Middletown post office until 1977 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It was previously owned and used by Liberty Bank.

Wesleyan’s fundraising arm, the Office of University Relations, now has a new name—and a new home.

Effective Aug. 1, University Relations was renamed the Office of Advancement, which reflects the evolution of the team’s work as they refine their focus and prepare for the next campaign, and aligns with industry standards.

“Of course, the staff’s commitment to the Wesleyan community and to engaging alumni, parents, and students in the life of the University remains unchanged,” said Frantz Williams ’99, vice president for advancement. “We’re all excited for this new chapter!”

During the summer the advancement staff relocated to 291 Main Street, the former Middletown Post Office building. Bringing together advancement team members from four campus locations facilitates collaboration and provides an opportunity for increased synergy.

While the Advancement team occupies the first and second floor of the renovated office space, the majority of Wesleyan’s Finance Office tenants the third floor. Financial Services, including payroll, purchasing and procurement, auxiliary operations, accounts payable, financial planning, grants, and the purchasing card office are among the services that relocated to Main Street.

Altogether, roughly 70 employees occupy the building.

“I love our new finance space on the third floor and the connection and reunion with the Financial Services team,” said Olga Bookas, director of purchasing. “I am grateful to be able to work and collaborate with my friends and coworkers. For me, it means a lot to be able to walk to colleagues’ offices and ask a question and get a quick answer.”

Wesleyan hosted an open house at on Sept. 18 for members of the Wesleyan and local communities. A welcome ceremony was led by Senior Vice President, Chief Administrative Officer, and Treasurer Andy Tanaka; Wesleyan President Michael Roth ’78; Jennifer Alexander ’88, Hon. ’09, P’15, ’16; Middletown Mayor Dan Drew; and Larry McHugh, president of the Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce. Brandi Hood, senior project planner, was honored for her efforts overseeing the building renovation.

Photos of the open house and the 291 Main Street building are below: (Photos by Olivia Drake)

About 100 guests from Wesleyan and the Main Street community attended the Advancement Open House.

About 100 guests from Wesleyan and the Main Street community attended the open house.

Wesleyan alumna Jennifer Alexander ’88, Hon. ’09, spoke during the opening. Alexander owns KidCity Children’s Museum on nearby Washington Street and welcomes more Wesleyan-affiliations to downtown Middletown.

Mayor

City of Middletown Mayor Daniel Drew (pictured center next to the reception desk) congratulated Wesleyan for making its second move to Main Street. The Wesleyan RJ Julia Bookstore opened in May 2017.

University Roman Catholic Chaplain

The Wesleyan Cardinal greets University Roman Catholic Chaplain Father Bill Wallace outside 291 Main Street during the open house.

Open-house goers were treated to snacks and refreshments.

Open house attendees were treated to snacks and refreshments.

The new office space features calming gray walls and bold Wesleyan red accents.

Frantz Williams ’99, vice president for advancement, is located on the second floor.

Guests are greeted in the Office of Advancement lobby.

Guests are greeted in the Office of Advancement lobby.

Beth Watrous

Beth Watrous, administrative assistant for leadership giving, illuminates her new workspace with blue lighting.

The three-story building provides staff with 27 offices, 63 workstations, 4 conference rooms, and 2 training rooms with flat-screen TVs and glass markerboards. An additional 10 workstations are available for student workers.

More than 30,000 Wesleyan alumni live throughout the United States and across the world.

More than 30,000 Wesleyan alumni live throughout the United States and across the world. The Office of Advancement works to connect and reunite alumni with the University.

Olga Bookas, director of purchasing, enjoys her new office on the third floor.

Olga Bookas, director of purchasing, enjoys her new office on the third floor. “Our suppliers love the new location! They are finding it easier to park and I have received positive feedback,” Bookas said. “The building is beautiful and it is nice to share it with Advancement.”

The new building offers employees and guests a rooftop deck and picnic area.

The new building offers employees and guests a rooftop deck and picnic area.