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Wildcat Fund Announces Staff Restructure

February 24, 2022

EVANSTON, Illinois – Ushering in a new era of Northwestern Athletics and Recreation, the Wildcat Fund is proud to announce the restructuring of the department’s fundraising team. Under the leadership of Combe Family Vice President for Athletics and Recreation, Dr. Derrick Gragg, and Senior Associate Vice President of Alumni Relations and Development for Schools and Programs, Julie Allen, the new Wildcat Fund team will build off the tremendous success of We Will. The Campaign for Northwestern. With a focus on modernizing the annual fund, and spearheading the effort to reimagine Ryan Field, this team will engage Wildcats across the Northwestern community to benefit our more than 500 student-athletes proudly representing 19 varsity programs.

Led by Deputy Athletics Director for Development, Jesse Marks, the Wildcat Fund team has added six new teammates over the last several months, along with promotions and a shift in responsibilities for existing team members. The mission of the group moving forward will focus heavily on three key areas: major gifts, annual giving, and operations, events, and premium seating.

In addition to Marks, who arrived in September 2021, the team welcomes back Northwestern wrestling alumnus, NCAA champion, and former coach, Jack Griffin ’90 (February 2022), to lead the major gifts effort as Senior Associate Athletics Director. Mike Murray (November 2021) and Stephen Milani (January 2022) will work closely with Griffin in their roles as Associate Directors for Major Gifts.

Leading the charge on annual giving will be Assistant Athletics Director for the Wildcat Fund, Kacie Dohrmann, supported by Associate Director of Leadership Giving, Amy Blackbourn (November 2021).

Matt Smith, Director of Athletics Operations, Events, and Premium Seating will oversee internal operations and several aspects of the process to rethink and rebuild Ryan Field in the coming years. Alicia Torimoto McLeod, Associate Director of Operations, Events, and Premium Seating, and Steven LaPlante (March 2022), Assistant Director of Operations, Events, and Premium Seating will work with Smith to round out the Wildcat Fund operational leadership.

Supporting the entire team as Program Assistant is Wildcats golf alumna, Brooke Riley ’20, ’21 MA (October 2021).

If you would like to welcome the new team members or learn more about the Wildcat Fund and the exciting opportunities ahead, you can visit, call the office at (847) 467-4321, or send an email to

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