Q & A ... Anthony Fairbanks
Anthony Fairbanks, Vice Chancellor of Development Affairs
Photo: Chlotilde Wigginsl
Tony Fairbanks is the vice chancellor of development affairs. He
was born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio. Fairbanks attended Ohio State
University and Cornell University earning a degree in city planning and
a masters in public administration. He is a father of four, and he spends
a lot of his time with his two youngest children aged 10 and 11.
Fairbanks dedicates his life to helping young people stay motivated.
Where did you grow up?
I am originally from Cincinnati, Ohio. I grew up in Cincinnati, and
I was fortunate enough to attend Walnut High School, which is probably
one of the better high schools in the country.
Where did you go to college?
I went to Ohio State University and majored in city planning. From
there I went to Cornell University, and I spent two years in their business
school earning a masters in public administration.
What types of clubs or organizations were you in while in college?
Omega. I served as the president of the Iota Psi chapter. I served
as president of an organization called AWARE, which is a voter registration
program. I served as mentor working with young males.
What types of jobs did you have before this one?
I have done a number of things that all have a common thread. That
common thread is working to advance the various opportunities that were
available to young people.
I have worked as a legislative aid in the Twenty-Fifth district
in Cincinnati, Ohio. I have worked at Virginia Union University, Hatherford
College, Lincoln University and the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship
Foundation. All of those assignments had to do with raising money to support
programs that advance young people.
When did you accept the position of vice chancellor of development
My official start date was September 11, 2000
How would you describe your responsibilities to a student?
What we do is take all of the great things that different people on
this campus do: the students, who are doing exceptional things both academic
and in the community, faculty, who engage in extensive research and scholarship,
departments, which are trying to move this institution forward—and we package
and market those things to our public.
The publics are corporations, foundations, governmental agencies both
local and state, alumni, community leaders, and friends, all in an attempt
to convince them that they should invest their philanthropic dollars in
NCCU. They have many choices, but we are saying that all the things that
we do here at NCCU are worthy of their support.
How many hours a day do you work?
Well,yesterday I was here at 7 o'clock, and I left at 8 o'clock. That's
the way it's going to be for a while. But you don't define the day by hours.
The day in development work is defined by task and assignments. There are
many things that have to be done in the course of a day, so you just roll
up your sleeves and get it done.
What types of problems do you have to solve?
They are not really problems, just challenges. Last night around 7
p.m. the chancellor, Gloria Haynes, Dr. Harewood, and I were meeting about
a proposal to raise $1 million to support the new biology and science institute.
The hour of the day didn't really matter.
What mattered was the mission of that institute and the fact
that we had an opportunity to put together a package that would be of interest
to a foundation. That's how it works.
What are some of the major goals that you want to accomplish?
One, I want to make sure that we enhance the overall image of the university,
and we can do that by telling people what we do on a day-to-day basis.
Two, I want to significantly increase the flow of dollars that
are coming into the university.
And three, I want to encourage more and more alumni to invest
in their university.
Let me say this, students here at NCCU spend four years acquiring
a degree. That degree has a reputation associated with it.
It is imperative that students take the time and responsibility
to protect the reputation of that degree. So when you graduate, it is important
to become active in your alumni association.
It is in your interest to come back to your university to see
if your particular department is maintaining a quality standard.
It is in your interest to see what kind of students are matriculating
to the university after you have gone because it is those students who
your degree will be judged by.
Take seriously your time here. Don't just go through your four
years, but grow through your four years.
After you leave the office, what types of leisure activities do you
I am a father. My leisure activities are defined by my two youngest
daughters. I go to tap dance lessons, clarinet lessons, soccer practice,
and Chucky Cheese, and I find that fun. I really enjoy it. I ride those
rides more than they do.
What advice would you give incoming freshman?
First impressions count! Start out the best you can academically. It
is far easier to do well the first year and maintain a high average than
to really mess up and spend the next three years picking it up. Be serious
about academics your first year. Don't be afraid to ask for help. And talk
to your professors.
What is your philosophy on success in life?
Follow the Fairbanks theory of pie: P + I + E. P= Performance,
do your work, and don't make excuses. I= create an image that tells others
that you are serious about your work. And E= expose yourself to as many
people as you can.
Thank you for sharing your time with the Campus Echo.
Interview & transcription by Chlotilde Wiggins, Echo Staff