After a nationwide search, Rodney M. Grabowski has accepted the position of Senior Vice President of Advancement and Partnerships at UCF, starting September 6th.
Grabowski is currently the Vice President for University Advancement at the University at Buffalo, the flagship school in the State University of New York (SUNY) system. There he oversees the institution’s fundraising venture, alumni engagement and building important relationships through marketing and strategic communications.
“Rod has an incredible track record of raising funds, advancing college and fostering the connections and relationships necessary to fuel the success of a 21st century university,” said UCF President Alexander N. Cartwright. “Our new strategic plan is clear that we must find new sources of philanthropy and develop new partnerships to advance our efforts to unlock the potential of our students, faculty and community and tell the story of UCF more broadly. I am grateful that Rod has chosen to come to UCF and lead this effort on our team.”
Grabowski has more than three decades of nonprofit and advancement experience, including extensive experience in the Florida State University system and healthcare philanthropy. Under his leadership, the University at Buffalo surpassed its $650 million goal a full year earlier and raised $879.2 million towards an expanded goal of $1 billion – an effort punctuated by consecutive record years for the university was strengthened. He is a national leader in the use of artificial intelligence, data-driven strategy and innovative management strategies.
“I am deeply impressed by the excellence of UCF and the potential to achieve even more for the students and the institution,” says Grabowski. “I look forward to working with President Cartwright, faculty and staff, donors and volunteers to build a world-class organization that advances and supports the work of this outstanding university.”
As UCF pursues the bold vision and goals outlined in its new strategic plan, Grabowski will lead the organization of the new Promotions and Strategic Partnerships department. The new department will foster a holistic, comprehensive approach to university engagement that encompasses our fundraising, partnership and marketing efforts. Through these collaborative efforts, UCF hopes to better nurture connections that lead to meaningful and fruitful relationships that amplify our impact and result in new revenue streams to further our excellence and unleash the potential of our students, faculty and community.
In his role at UCF, Grabowski will report to the President and serve as a key member of the President’s cabinet.
Prior to SUNY, Grabowski enjoyed great success at the University of Cincinnati, where he served as President of the UC Foundation, Vice President of Advancement for the university, and President and CEO of the UC Health Foundation. While there, he successfully completed the $1 billion “Proudly Cincinnati” campaign, exceeding the goal by 10%. In Florida, he was senior associate vice president for advancement and campaign director at the University of South Florida, where he led the university’s $600 million fundraising campaign. He was also interim vice president of USF and CEO of the USF Foundation, and associate vice president of the University for Central Development. He has also served in leadership positions at the University of North Florida and Jacksonville University, helping both institutions run extensive campaigns.
Hailing from Phoenix, New York, Grabowski holds the prestigious CFRE – Certified Fund Raising Executive certificate. He earned an MBA from the University of North Florida and a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations from Syracuse University. He is an active member and leader in the Association of Fundraising Professionals and CASE, the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education. He is an Eagle Scout with the Boy Scouts of America.
The 15-member selection committee, which included faculty, staff and student representatives, was co-chaired by Michael Johnson, Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs, and Gerald Hector, Senior Vice President for Administration and Finance.