Beth Zapatka joined Springfield College as the vice president for institutional advancement in July 2021 from the Yale University School of Nursing where she was associate dean for development and alumni affairs. Zapatka oversees all institutional advancement efforts, including advancement services, alumni relations, and development. We spoke recently about her career path, the Humanics mission, and Advancing Humanics: The Campaign for Springfield College.
How has your career led you to Springfield College?
I started my fundraising career at the Bushnell Performing Arts Center where I was hired for the $25 million capital campaign. From the Bushnell, I intentionally spent time working for another performing arts institution, moved on to health care and, ultimately, found my way to higher education. I wanted to understand the landscape of each of those nonprofits so that I could make the best choice for me.
I learned I could have the most impact working in higher education. The opportunity for a student to change the trajectory of their life because they’ve been offered a scholarship is powerful. The ability to help a donor understand how and where their gift can transform a life or a campus is incredibly rewarding. And, it remains so. I am in the position now that I’ve always wanted.
What is it about Springfield College?
The idea that a mission established in 1885 lives and breathes and is as important today as it was nearly 140 years ago is amazing. I don’t know of another institution that believes so strongly in its mission, and wears it on its sleeve like we do. Our triangle — spirit, mind, body — is felt by every member of our community and our students leave here to share this mission with others. It is inspiring. And, that work toward achieving balance speaks to the core of who I am as a human being.
What’s your story?
I’ve been an athlete my entire life, and I’m interested in connecting with folks who can help me continue to learn and reconsider what I thought I already knew. The more I encounter, the more I want to give back. So, while I am at Springfield College, I’m thinking deeply about how I tap into my own knowledge and experiences so that I can help the College as it moves forward. My story fits our mission. It’s why I’m here.
Let’s talk about the campaign.
Our campaign is all about our students. How do we attract the best students? How do we educate the students we currently have? How do we create cross collaboration through interdisciplinary work? People understand that the new Health Science Center is going to do that. But how, through the campaign, are we creating scholarships to support students? How are we infusing opportunities for our faculty to have more experiences that they, then, share with the students? It’s so student centric.
Our donors care deeply about Springfield College. But what about those alumni we don’t know yet? Those are the people who are going to make the difference. Even if they don’t have millions of dollars to give, those are the folks we need to join us and to stand up for the future of the College. They just don’t know it yet. This campaign will help us introduce these concepts and open doors, and give us another means to have people focus back on Springfield College. And, that’s what we need to do. It amplifies the story of this place. We can create a better tomorrow by honoring our storied tradition.
~ Jane Johnson Vottero