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Executive Director of Development

University of Virginia

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Employment Type: Full-time
Posted data: 2021-05-20
Req: R0024499

The Aspen Leadership Group is proud to partner with the University of Virginia in the search for an Executive Director of Development.

The Executive Director of Development will play a leadership role in the creation of a new team and the coordination of prospecting, fundraising, and campaign planning for University Priorities within University Advancement. The Executive Director will rebuild and transform the team responsible for philanthropy earmarked for pan-University priorities, working with centrally based Directors of Development on their annual work plans, travel plans, goals, and pipeline development. Partnering with the Associate Vice President and Directors, the Executive Director will ensure that everyone works strategically, collaboratively, and efficiently internally and externally. The Executive Director will lead efforts to organize and hire key fundraisers for the University Priorities team and will supervise five director-level positions.

In 1819, Thomas Jefferson founded the University of Virginia and inaugurated a bold experiment – a public university designed to advance human knowledge, educate leaders, and cultivate an informed citizenry. More than two centuries later, this vision is thriving. Across Grounds – and throughout the world – UVA students, faculty, staff, and alumni challenge convention, break barriers, and pursue the greater good.

The University is an iconic public institution of higher education, boasting nationally ranked schools and programs, diverse and distinguished faculty, a major academic medical center, and proud history as a renowned research university. The community and culture of the University are enriched by active student self-governance, sustained commitment to the arts, and a robust NCAA Division I Athletics program. In its third century, the University of Virginia offers an affordable, world-class education that is consistently ranked among the nation’s best including #4 Best Public National University, U.S. News & World Report, 2021; #2 Best Value Public University, Money Magazine, 2021; and #1 Hospital in Virginia, U.S. News and World Report, 2020-21. As one of the nation’s leading public institutions, UVA pushes the boundaries of what’s possible – always in the name of the greater good. This is made possible by an unswerving commitment to initiatives that grow, strengthen. and shape this institution for the future.


The Executive Director of Development will report to the Associate Vice President for Development, Rob Allen, and will supervise five direct reports including three Directors of Development for University Priorities, the Director of Development for Global Initiatives, and the Director of Reunion Giving.


Thank you for your interest in the Executive Director of Development position and in becoming a member of the UVA Advancement team. The Executive Director will play an important role in reorganizing and strengthening our fundraising efforts during a pivotal moment in UVA’s ambitious $5B Honor the Future campaign. The successful candidate will have the opportunity to energize and unite a group of talented fundraising professionals as they aim to build a philanthropic base for some of the most high-profile and urgent pan-University initiatives set forth by President Ryan in his 2030 strategic plan for the University. This experience will provide the successful candidate with a chance to shape and oversee a plan for fundraising with regional and liaison assignments in a highly decentralized fundraising environment. The Executive Director will use their skills of creativity and quick problem-solving to develop and hone a fundraising unit that is on the cutting edge and can play a role as a central leader for fundraising at UVA. Throughout this process, the Executive Director will develop relationships and connections across all levels of the University as well as with external constituents, broadening their network and setting themselves up for future career achievement. Most importantly, the incumbent will have the opportunity to lead a team in raising funds for programs and initiatives that will leave an indelible mark at the University and enrich the resources and experiences available to UVA students, faculty, and staff. We are confident that this opportunity is truly unique and will be a challenging and rewarding professional experience. We look forward to beginning conversations with highly qualified candidates. –Rob Allen, Associate Vice President for Development


Over its first two hundred years, the University of Virginia has been at the forefront of producing global citizen leaders, groundbreaking research and scholarship, and world-class patient care. As the University enters its third century, it continuously seeks to define and redefine itself, motivated by its shared passion for discovery, innovation, community, service, and social justice. One of the University’s top priorities is to create a living, learning, and work environment that supports — and challenges — its academic community. To achieve its mission, the University must be a place in which all faculty, students, and staff are active participants in its work, where those groups historically excluded from participation in University life are present in numbers that prevent isolation of the spirit and of the mind, and where each individual is conscious of how they contribute to the creation and dissemination of knowledge that enhances the well-being of the community, the state, the nation, and the world. Committed to attracting and retaining a diverse staff, University Advancement honors your experiences, perspectives, and unique identity. It strives to create and maintain working environments that are inclusive, equitable, and welcoming so it can best achieve its mission of supporting its broadly diverse partners, schools, and networks of engaged alumni, parents, and friends of the University.


The Executive Director of Development will

• oversee fundraising efforts for pan-University fundraising priorities;

• coach and manage the performance of program directors, helping them reach campaign goals for the University Priorities team;

• build and manage a portfolio of current and prospective major- and principal-gift level donors, moving them towards giving levels that achieve annual and long-range fundraising goals for the University;

• coordinate prospect strategy and communication across a highly decentralized and complex advancement structure;

• create and oversee a strategy for effective prospect coordination within a quasi-regional approach to securing funding for University priorities;

• play a critical role in maximizing philanthropic support from key donors to ultimately achieve, or exceed, ambitious campaign goals;

• serve as a member of the senior leadership team in the University Development Office and maintain strong and meaningful relationships with advancement colleagues and leaders across Grounds;

• when travel restrictions are lifted, travel nationally to identify, cultivate, and solicit prospects; and

• manage, lead, and coach staff.


The University of Virginia seeks an Executive Director of Development with

• direct portfolio and performance management experience as well as campaign planning experience, particularly within a higher education setting;

• a track record of achieving sustained growth in a university, non-profit organization, or other relevant sector;

• a demonstrated commitment to diversity and inclusion;

• exceptional communication skills, a high degree of personal integrity and the ability to keep the big picture in focus while attending to the small details; and

• experience using data to evaluate and plan.

A bachelor's degree is required for this position as is at least eight years of relevant experience.


The University of Virginia offers a competitive salary and benefits package.


The successful candidate must reside in Virginia and be available to attend meetings regularly in Charlottesville, Virginia.


All applications must be accompanied by a cover letter and résumé. Cover letters should be responsive to the mission and vision of the University of Virginia as well as the responsibilities and qualifications stated in the prospectus. Review of applications will begin immediately and continue until the successful candidate has been selected. All inquiries will be held in confidence. To apply for this position, visit:

To nominate a candidate, please contact Don Hasseltine:

The University of Virginia, including the UVA Health System which represents the UVA Medical Center, Schools of Medicine and Nursing, UVA Physician’s Group and the Claude Moore Health Sciences Library, are fundamentally committed to the diversity of our faculty and staff. We believe diversity is excellence expressing itself through every person's perspectives and lived experiences. We are equal opportunity and affirmative action employers. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to age, color, disability, gender identity or expression, marital status, national or ethnic origin, political affiliation, race, religion, sex (including pregnancy), sexual orientation, veteran status, and family medical or genetic information.


In 1819, the University of Virginia established a new model for intellectual exchange and cross-disciplinary collaboration in higher education. Two hundred years later, as a major research institution, we continue to challenge conventions, lead with ingenuity and advance knowledge for the common good.

What began as an innovative idea has become one of the nation’s leading public research universities, with over 21,000 undergraduate, graduate and professional students. UVA also has over 3,000 full-time faculty offering more than 400 degrees.

Each of the University’s eleven schools has its own distinctive mission, working together to garner consistently high rankings—including #2 Best Value Public College (Princeton Review, 2016), #3 Public University in the Nation (U.S. News & World Report, 2016), and #3 Best Value Among Public Colleges (Kiplinger’s, 2016).  

As we invest in and strengthen our research capabilities, UVA seeks new faculty ready to uncover new insights, rewrite old rules and collaborate on intellectual discoveries.


As an R1 institution, the University’s research centers, consortia and laboratories are on the leading edge of discovery and technology, offering collaborative spaces for students and faculty to solve global problems.

Our professors are recognized members of major national scholarly and professional organizations, including the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Our faculty’s engagement in interdisciplinary research is being facilitated by new research institutes specializing in everything from big data to brain functioning, and by cluster hires across schools.


UVA is also home to a nationally renowned academic medical center and the UVA Health System, which serves a three-part mission to treat patients, conduct translational research and train medical practitioners in a wide variety of disciplines.

Established as the nation’s 10th medical school in 1825, the institution has since grown to include a 612-bed hospital and a Level I trauma center, nationally recognized cancer and heart centers, a Children’s Hospital, and primary and specialty clinics throughout Central Virginia.

The UVA Medical Center is consistently ranked among the nation’s best hospitals by the U.S. News & World Report magazine and has been named among the top 25 percent in seven specialties.


The vast majority of UVA students come from the top 10% of their high school class, as well as from all 50 states, over 142 countries and a variety of socioeconomic backgrounds. Despite their diversity, all UVA students share a love of learning and a drive to achieve.

One of the reasons students choose Virginia is our unique residential culture. At UVA, the community of students, faculty and staff personifies the Jeffersonian idea that living and learning are connected. The Academical Village was constructed to support a unique residential experience, with faculty living in the Pavilions, students occupying Lawn rooms and the world-famous Rotunda at its heart. The University’s residential culture continues to support this experience today—strengthened by students, faculty and staff rich in backgrounds, ideas and perspectives. Our unique culture is also paying dividends in innovation:  UVA’s faculty have generated more than 130 patents since 2010.

Perhaps most importantly, faculty come to UVA knowing that instruction is as important as research, and they pride themselves on their many teaching awards.  Our best professors look for ways to encourage, mentor and develop tomorrow’s leaders inside and outside the classroom.


Living in Charlottesville you’ll find sophisticated restaurants, world-renowned wineries and breweries, cosmopolitan arts and music, friendly urban and suburban neighborhoods and a Piedmont landscape that has lured adventurous souls for centuries.  No wonder the U.S. National Bureau of Economic Research named Charlottesville the “happiest city in America” in 2014.

In addition to UVA and its health system, several major employers have facilities in Charlottesville, including State Farm, Northrop Grumman, the U.S. Department of Defense, GE and others.  Charlottesville is also becoming a center for innovative start-up businesses.  The University also actively helps spouses and partners of faculty members build their networks and pursue employment opportunities with a wide variety of area employers. 

The University of Virginia is an equal opportunity and affirmative action employer. Women, minorities, veterans, and persons with disabilities are encouraged to apply. In accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAAA) and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, qualified individuals with disabilities are protected from discrimination and may be entitled to reasonable accommodations to assist in their pursuit of employment at the University. This includes assistance in completing the online job application as well as reasonable accommodations during the interview process. Please contact the UHR Service Center: 434.982.0123 to request assistance.

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