2017 Advancement for Academics - Presenter Bios


Sherry Booth, Director of Philanthropy, Trent University

Sherry Booth has over 25 years of experience working in fundraising, mostly in the academic environment. Recently, Sherry has provided leadership to Trent University’s most ambitious fundraising campaign to date, developing and implementing the campaign’s $50 million success strategy. Having worked at Trent for over 20 years, Sherry has held a variety of roles relating to annual giving, leadership and major gifts, capital giving and legacy giving. 

In 2014, Sherry and an ambitious group of volunteers completed a Legacy Campaign that led to an unprecedented doubling of their Legacy Society in just 18 months. 

Sherry holds a Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics for Commerce from York University and a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from Trent University. She has served on the Board of Governors for Trent University and volunteers on the boards of several charities.


Lorna Somers, Director of Development, McMaster University and Vice-President, McMaster University Foundation

Lorna Somers has been working in University Advancement at McMaster University since 1988.  During that time she has been involved in the establishment and growth of the Annual Fund, Gift Planning and Major and Principal Giving. She has been Campaign Director for two university-wide comprehensive campaigns (Changing Tomorrow Today 2001 and The Campaign for McMaster 2010), in addition to directing a series of targeted campaigns for Athletics, the Museum of Art, 2 campaigns for Scholarships & Bursaries, the Student Centre and for the Centre for Learning & Discovery. Somers currently focuses her attention on working closely with senior academic leaders and volunteers to secure principal-level gifts, most notable among them, the largest cash gift to a Canadian university.

Somers complements the depth of her experience at McMaster with the breadth of a commitment to teaching and training that takes her around the globe. She works throughout Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia and North America with academics and board members as well as colleagues in Advancement - both in Higher Education and the charitable sector.  Volunteer work has included National Chair of Canadian Association of Gift Planners (CAGP), Trustee and Chair of the International Committee for the Council for the Advancement & Support of Education (CASE). Along with co-author Dr. Frank Minton, she wrote the definitive volume Planned Giving for Canadians, now in its 4th edition and still among the best-selling books on fundraising in Canada. The TV movie is expected to air in late 2017.

In recognition for her contribution to teaching and for service and leadership within the profession, Somers was awarded CASE’s John Lippincott Award (2016) and Frank Ashmore Award (2011) and the “Friend of CAGP” award (1997). She was the second Canadian to receive the CASE Crystal Apple for Excellence in Teaching in 2005, eclipsed only by her Science Fair project winning the American Phytopathological Award in 1976.

At McMaster, Somers has taught art history for Continuing Education and teaches the University’s most popular student, alumni and community event: her etiquette dinners called Meals & Manners. Its most recent incarnations were Downton Abbey Dining (in full Edwardian kit, no less), followed by Mad Men, Martinis and Manners.

Somers has McMaster degrees in English and in Art History.



Jeffrey S. Todd, Executive Director, alumni UBC, and Associate Vice President, Alumni, University of British Columbia

Jeff Todd joined UBC in September 2010 to build the capacity of alumni UBC and lead efforts to establish a strong, sustainable and growing culture of alumni engagement. He served as co-director of UBC’s highly successful start an evolution alumni engagement and fundraising campaign, which concluded in September 2015. This dual-goal campaign was unique in Canada and exceeded expectations by raising $1.624 billion and engaging 130,005 alumni (more than doubling the annual rate of engagement since its launch). One of the campaign’s greatest legacies is the Robert H. Lee Alumni Centre: an iconic, vibrant, and welcoming home for alumni, students and visitors that enjoys a prime location at the heart of UBC’s Vancouver campus. 

Since arriving at UBC, Jeff has worked in collaboration with the professional team and Board of Directors to establish a new best-practice governance structure; introduce the alumni UBC brand; develop an alumni-engagement value proposition and framework; and create and execute the comprehensive Alumni, Forever UBC strategic plan.

Prior to joining UBC, Jeff was Executive Director of the Oregon State University Alumni Association and Director of Alumni Relations (2004-10). In this dual role, he served as chief alumni relations officer for the university while providing leadership and executive management for the alumni association, an independent not-for-profit corporation that promotes the university through services and programming for more than 150,000 alumni and friends. He also served on the university cabinet.

From 2002-04, Jeff was Executive Vice-President at the University of Arizona Alumni Association, and from 1985 to 2001 he was Director of Alumni Relations at his alma mater, the College of Wooster. During his final years at Wooster, Jeff had the additional responsibility of managing the annual fund.

Jeff serves on the Board of Directors and as President of CCAE, as well as having served on the international board of CASE, the CASE Alumni Relations Commission, and the Board of the Council of Alumni Association Executives. He is a frequent speaker at CASE conferences. In 2008, he received a Crystal Apple Teaching Award.