Chief Executive Officer/Secretary-Treasurer
Paul J. Clifford is the chief executive officer of the Penn State Alumni Association and associate vice president for alumni relations for Penn State. He is the organization’s 11th chief executive in its 146-year history and began his tenure in January 2016.
With 176,427 members, the Penn State Alumni Association is the largest dues-paying alumni association of its kind worldwide. The Alumni Association’s mission is to connect alumni to the University and to each other; provide valued services to members; and support the University’s mission of teaching, research, and service.
Clifford guides Penn State’s alumni relations strategy; oversees engagement initiatives with the Alumni Association’s 176,000+ members and 315 affiliate groups; leads a 70-member staff; and manages the Alumni Association’s broad range of programs, benefits, services, and resources, including a $12.5 million annual operating budget.
A Pennsylvania native, Clifford joined Penn State after serving as the University of Oregon’s associate vice president of advancement and executive director of the University of Oregon Alumni Association. While at Oregon, Clifford directed all programs, events, communications and services for the University’s 190,000 alumni and led a team of 40 professionals across four locations. He was responsible for increasing membership by more than 8 percent; implementing an alumni scholars program; and leading the University’s Philanthropic Relationships and Engagement Team, an innovative model that cross-functionally integrates traditional alumni relations, annual giving, and other engagement strategies.
Clifford has spent his entire career in the alumni relations field and has broad national experience. A 12-time CASE (Council for Advancement and Support of Education) Award winner, Clifford has served on or chaired myriad CASE committees and is a five-time faculty member for the organization’s Summer Institute for Alumni Relations.
Clifford earned his bachelor of arts degree in History from Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania in 1996. Prior to his service at the University of Oregon, he was associate vice chancellor for alumni relations at East Carolina University and the president and CEO of the East Carolina Alumni Association—positions he held from 2004–2014. Previously, he was director of alumni outreach at the University of Connecticut Alumni Association, director of alumni affairs at SUNY New Paltz, and assistant director for alumni communications and student programs at James Madison University.
A native of Conyngham, Pa., Clifford and his wife Jennefer have three children: Aidan, Avery and Abbey.