Dear Rutgers University – Newark colleagues,
I write to share exciting news of a transition in Rutgers University – Newark’s advancement leadership. After serving with distinction for 13 years as our Vice Chancellor for Advancement—the past eight as one of my own closest advisors—our treasured colleague and stalwart Rutgers–Newark champion Irene O’Brien has been named by Rutgers University Foundation President Kimberly Hopely to be Vice President, Central Fundraising and Donor Engagement. On Monday, February 7, 2022 when that appointment takes effect, I am also thrilled to announce that we will welcome our new Vice Chancellor for Advancement, Robin Semple, who has served brilliantly since 2015 as Assistant Vice Chancellor for Strategic Initiatives for Development.
Few people know and love Rutgers-Newark as deeply as Irene. She earned her B.A. and M.P.A. degrees here and worked in the Office of Communications before launching her career in development. We have benefitted immensely from her having brought that expertise back to her alma mater in 2009, as she built our capacities to garner philanthropic support from individuals and institutions alike, taking our fundraising to record levels. Throughout, she has drawn on her profound understanding of Rutgers-Newark’s identity, how it has been shaped by generations of students, faculty, and staff, and how to make the case effectively for investing in our diverse, inclusive community. While we will all miss the daily infusion of her wisdom—and I will personally miss her characteristically clear-eyed analyses of how best to invest our own fundraising energies—we are enthusiastically cheering her on as she leverages those talents and sensibilities Rutgers wide as a member of Kimberly Hopely’s senior Foundation team.
We cheer on Robin with equal enthusiasm as she assumes her new responsibilities. As many of you know, Robin came to us with a more than 25 years’ experience in fundraising leadership from cultural institutions such as the Studio Museum in Harlem, as an independent consultant, and from higher education institutions including Columbia University, City College of New York, and Fordham University. Robin also came to us with characteristic warmth, a good sense of humor, and a breadth of interests and expertise. She has a B.A. in Middle East Studies and Black Studies from Fordham and has earned an array of professional certifications including one in genealogical research and several related to facilitating diversity, equity, and inclusion work, which she has drawn upon as past Chair of the Rutgers Foundation Task Force on Race, Philanthropy and Enhancing Engagement of Alumni and Donors of Color.
I am beyond grateful that both Irene and Robin will continue to bring their many talents and love for Rutgers-Newark to bear on our efforts to tell our story far and wide and inspire growing numbers of supporters to invest in our amazing institution. Please join me in congratulating them both!