About the summit

AI’s moment has arrived. Cars are driving themselves. We're speaking directly to interfaces like Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa. AI is finding its way into applications that seem less exotic and more accessible.

Technologies are fusing massive data sets with behavioral and predictive algorithms. New user interfaces are being powered by machine learning. These innovations are creating exciting and practical applications for AI. Emerging tools are sure to change core engagement, fundraising, and communications functions in advancement offices.

The AI in Advancement Summit is hosted by Cornell University's Division of Alumni Affairs and Development. Cornell has partnered with Ithaca College, Keuka College, Skidmore College, Syracuse University, Union College, and Virginia Tech to make this event possible. The summit is supported by an award from the CASE District II Venture Capital Fund.

Have a question about the summit? Email Emily Gustafson.

What to expect

  • As an attendee, you'll gain an understanding of basic AI concepts. You'll learn about the current state of the field and explore emerging trends.
  • Leave the summit with the knowledge you need to follow developments in AI from an informed perspective. You'll begin recognizing opportunities. And, you'll have the skills to decode jargon that pervades media coverage and marketing materials.
  • During the summit, you can join breakout discussions. Help us identify advancement functions that might be enhanced or transformed by AI. Breakout groups are intended to simply jumpstart these conversations. Groups will form the nucleus of a community of professionals that will grow over time.

The summit is open to CASE District II members, as well as staff from other CASE member institutions and technology partners.

February 16, 2018

Ithaca, NY

100 expected attendees

5 speakers


Adam Martel

Adam Martel

CEO of Gravyty

As a seasoned major gifts fundraiser, Adam has a deep and personal understanding of the challenges that all nonprofit organizations face while trying to raise money to support their causes. Throughout his years as a front-line fundraiser, Adam has worked with thousands of donors and has helped nonprofit organizations raise millions of dollars.

Before his time as a fundraiser, Adam founded three companies and had a diverse and eclectic background in advertising, public relations, journalism and collegiate athletic coaching. He has also spent time as a senior financial analyst at a major investment management firm where he oversaw an international finance department that guaranteed the accuracy of approximately $50 billion dollars in international and domestic trades.

Adam graduated from Merrimack College with a degree in Communication and Business and is an MBA candidate at Babson College. Adam lives in West Roxbury with his wife and two beautiful daughters.

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Andy Monroe

Andy Monroe

Software developer of BrightCrowd

Andy Monroe graduated from Cornell in 1999 with a B.S. in Operations Research. He has been involved with software since age 5 and has worked with many early-stage startups including founding his own. Most recently he has been working with BrightCrowd to help people better understand their personal and professional networks through the use of machine learning.

David B. Shmoys

David B. Shmoys

Laibe/Acheson Professor of Business Management & Leadership Studies
School of Operations Research and Information Engineering (ORIE)

David Shmoys obtained his Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of California at Berkeley in 1984, and held postdoctoral positions at MSRI in Berkeley and Harvard University, and a faculty position at MIT before joining the Cornell faculty. He is Co-Chair of the Academic Planning Committee for Cornell Tech and Associate Director of the Institute of Computational Sustainability at Cornell University.

He is a Fellow of the ACM, INFORMS, and of SIAM, was an NSF Presidential Young Investigator, and has served on numerous editorial boards, including Mathematics of Operations Research (for which he is currently an Associate Editor), Operations Research, ORSA Journal on Computing, Mathematical Programming, and the SIAM Journals of both Computing and Discrete Mathematics, where for the latter he also served as Editor-in-Chief. He has been the advisor for 21 graduated Ph.D. students, and his former students are currently on the faculties of many leading universities and research labs, including MIT, Waterloo, Brown, Maryland, Georgetown, and D-Wave.

Shmoys' research has focused on the design and analysis of efficient algorithms for discrete optimization problems, with applications including scheduling, inventory theory, computational biology, and most recently, comptuational sustainability. His work has highlighted the central role that linear programming plays in the design of approximation algorithms for NP-hard problems; his recent book, co-authored with David Williamson), The Design of Approximation Algorithms, was awarded the 2013 Lanchester Prize by INFORMS.

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Madeleine Udell

Madeleine Udell

Assistant Professor
Richard and Sybil Smith Sesquicentennial Fellow
School of Operations Research and Information Engineering (ORIE)

Madeleine Udell is Assistant Professor of Operations Research and Information Engineering and Richard and Sybil Smith Sesquicentennial Fellow at Cornell University. She studies optimization and machine learning for large scale data analysis and control, with applications in marketing, demographic modeling, medical informatics, and engineering system design.

Her research in optimization centers on detecting and exploiting novel structures in optimization problems, with a particular focus on convex and low rank problems. These structures lead the way to automatic proofs of optimality, better complexity guarantees, and faster, more memory-efficient algorithms. She has developed of a number of open source libraries for modeling and solving optimization problems, including Convex.jl, one of the top tools in the Julia language for technical computing, and is a member of the JuliaOpt organization, which curates high quality optimization software.

Her research in machine learning centers on methods for imputing missing data in large tabular data sets. Her work on generalized low rank models (GLRMs) extends principal components analysis (PCA) to embed tabular data sets with heterogeneous (numerical, Boolean, categorical, and ordinal) types into a low dimensional space, providing a coherent framework for compressing, denoising, and imputing missing entries.

Madeleine completed her PhD at Stanford University in Computational & Mathematical Engineering in 2015 under the supervision of Stephen Boyd, and a one year postdoctoral fellowship at Caltech in the Center for the Mathematics of Information hosted by Professor Joel Tropp. At Stanford, she was awarded a NSF Graduate Fellowship, a Gabilan Graduate Fellowship, and a Gerald J. Lieberman Fellowship, and was selected as the doctoral student member of Stanford's School of Engineering Future Committee to develop a road-map for the future of engineering at Stanford over the next 10–20 years. She received a B.S. degree in Mathematics and Physics, summa cum laude, with honors in mathematics and in physics, from Yale University.

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Michael Greenberg

Michael Greenberg

CEO and founder of Retina.ai

Michael Greenberg is the CEO and founder of Retina.ai, a venture backed startup in California at the vanguard of cutting edge Machine Learning automation (Lead Investor: Comcast Ventures). Retina.ai counts NBC Universal and Dollar Shave Club among its current clients.

Based in Los Angeles, CA, Retina.ai offers a suite of bespoke automated algorithms focusing on fine grain customer level analytics which help you optimize sales/marketing channels (ie. Predictive LTV, Customer Seg, Time-Series Anomaly Detection, Churn, Customer Migration, etc.). We believe that with the explosion of data facing many organizations, current BI Visualization tools fail to detect or source new insights, somewhat akin to searching for a needle in a haystack. Our services are designed to help the needle find you.

Before Retina, Michael was the Michael was the CEO and Founder of ScaleFunder, a leading global crowdfunding platform, until its acquisition by Summit Partners in 2014. An official UCLA technology spinout company, revolutionizing online giving and data analysis in higher education, the ScaleFunder technology platform has grown to become the leading custom crowdfunding solution for institutions of higher education in the United States.

Prior to launching ScaleFunder, Michael was the Director of Innovation & Strategic Initiatives at the University of California, Los Angeles. In this role, Michael helped to foster interdisciplinary research initiatives and establish novel funding streams.

During his tenure he helped create Startup UCLA, UCLA's first student technology accelerator. Additionally, Michael assisted in the establishment of a new X-Prize to be hosted by UCLA. He has also served as Director of Global Business Development at UCLA, where he managed and designed a portfolio of major corporate partnerships.

Michael received his B.S. in Physics with honors from Loyola University in New Orleans.

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Registration & Breakfast

Ballroom Foyer

Arrive on campus with plenty of time for breakfast and pre-summit banter. Registration and all sessions will take place at The Statler Hotel. Located in the heart of Cornell's campus, The Statler provides luxury accommodations. Onsite parking is available for overnight guests. Those arriving Friday morning should note the campus ParkMobile parking lots.


Welcome & Opening Remarks from President Pollack

Carrier Ballroom

We couldn't be happier to open the summit with a few words Cornell's President, Martha Pollack. President Pollack is a computer scientist with research expertise in artificial intelligence. She earned Masters and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Pennsylvania. Her doctoral dissertation explores natural-language processing by computers. She has published research on automated planning, temporal reasoning, and constraint satisfaction. A special focus of her work has been the design of intelligent technology to assist people with cognitive impairments, a topic on which she testified before the US Senate Subcommittee on Aging in 2004.


Morning Keynote: Artificial Intelligence 101

Carrier Ballroom

What is Artificial Intelligence? Where did it come from? How did we get to where we are now? Why is AI beginning to boom? This opening keynote will cover a general background of AI. Attendees will start the day having gained a common conceptual framework and vocabulary.

David B. Shmoys is the Laibe/Acheson Professor of Business Management and Leadership Studies in the Department of Computer Science at the School of Operations Research and Information Engineering here at Cornell.



Ballroom Foyer

Let all that new knowledge soak in along with a few snacks. Join us for a quick break with light refreshments, coffee, and tea.


Industry Panel

Carrier Ballroom

Our panel of industry and academic experts will provide concrete examples of AI in practice. Hear how AI works in various industries, academia, and the consumer marketplace.

Moderator: Kim Infanti, executive director of digital engagement and communications from Syracuse University Office of Alumni Engagement.

Andy Monroe, Software developer, BrightCrowd
Madeleine Udell, Assistant Professor, School of Operations Research and Information Engineering (ORIE)
Michael Greenberg, CEO and founder, Retina.ai


Lunch Keynote:
AI-Enabled Fundraising — How Artificial Intelligence will Revolutionize Fundraising Forever

Carrier Ballroom

Is your database a system of record or a system of intelligence? Fundraising is an art and a science. Learn how technology can support prospect and volunteer management.

Adam Martel is a former major gifts fundraiser. While at Babson College he recognized how AI could transform the scope and impact of his work. He is now CEO and Co-founder, Gravyty Technologies, Inc.


Breakout Workshops

Statler breakout rooms

How might AI impact work in various advancement program areas? Each workshop will be co-facilitated by an industry professional and an advancement professional. Learn how to apply concepts covered in the morning sessions to your work. Join discussions that focus in on fundraising, alumni relations, and communications.

Annual Giving/Annual Funds:

Michael Greenberg, CEO and founder, Retina.ai
Catherine Marhenke, Associate Director, Annual Giving, Colgate University

Individual Giving:

Adam Martel, CEO, Gravyty
Mike Moyer, Associate Vice President of Development for Colleges, Virginia Tech

Prospect Research & Business Intelligence:

Erik Rapp, Director, Sales, Evertrue
Jennifer Sparrow, Director, Prospect Development, Cornell AAD

Marketing & Communication:

Vanessa Theoharis, Director of Digital Marketing, OHO Interactive
Ashley Budd, Director of Digital Marketing, Cornell AAD

Alumni Relations:

Walter Rivera, Head of Sales and Partnerships, Funderful
Andy Shaindlin, Vice President, Switchboard


Summit Wrap Up

Carrier Ballroom

Wrapping up the day, attendees are invited to share observations from the workshops. Participants from each advancement program area will share next steps. Summit organizers will reveal plans to keep the conversation going online.


Cocktail Reception

Regents Lounge

Join us for a post-summit cocktail in the Statler Hotel’s Regents Lounge. Summit organizers are seeking a co-sponsor for this event. Contact Ashley Budd if you are interested.




Ithaca is in the Finger Lakes region of central New York and is easy to get to by car, train, plane or bus. Learn more


The Statler Hotel at Cornell University

We have secured a room block at The Statler Hotel for February 15-17. The rate is $212.00/night. Reserve before Thursday, January 25th, 2018.
Reservations: 1(800)541-2501
Email: statler_reserve@cornell.edu


Hotel overnight guests will have access to valet. All other attendees can park in visitor areas on campus.