Originally published in the Union College Magazine, Fall 2013
Frank Messa ’73 has worn a lot of hats for Union: benefactor, chairman of the board of trustees, campaign chair, presidential search committee chair and parent, to name a few.
This summer, he added another: employee.
Messa is the interim vice president for College Relations, succeeding Steve Dare, who has accepted a position at the University of Rochester. Messa will oversee the College Relations operation — which includes fundraising, alumni relations and communications — during the national search.
His arrival is well timed. Messa takes his new position as the College has just completed the $258 million You Are Union campaign. His main goal is to work with Acting President Therese McCarty, to keep the momentum going during President Stephen C. Ainlay's six-month sabbatical.
“When a campaign is completed, there is a tendency for people to take their foot off the accelerator,” he said. “But the new Strategic Plan lays out some ambitious programs that will require significant fundraising. Which is where I come in.”
Messa has lists of prospective donors to call. The experience reminds him of his early days as an involved alumnus when he worked phonathons in Hale House.
Who will he call first? Some fellow trustees, he says.
“I am the right guy to do this,” he says looking over lists of people whom, he adds, “I know they will take my calls.”
Working within the College has given him a new perspective, he says. As a trustee, he saw the finished product. Now he sees the painstaking process of planning programs, donor events and publications.
"We have some really talented and energetic people working here at Union,” he said. “How else could we have been so successful?”
Messa and his wife, Colleen, live in Saratoga Springs. They have three children, Christopher, Peter and Keri ’08. Following graduation from Albany Law School in 1976, he joined the Ayco Company, a local tax and financial consulting firm. He retired in 2006 after 30 years with the firm.