The University at Buffalo has hired a new vice president to lead its fundraising efforts.
Rodney M. Grabowski, former president of the University of Cincinnati Foundation and vice president of advancement at the university, was named vice president for philanthropy and alumni engagement at UB.
UB President Satish K. Tripathi announced the hire on campus Tuesday. Grabowski will start Dec. 4.
He replaces Nancy Wells, who stepped down in July after five years in the post.
Grabowski comes to UB at a pivotal time. Tripathi in his most recent state of the university address in October said that UB will have to become more reliant than ever on private fundraising if it is to succeed. The president also said the university soon will launch the public phase of a major fundraising campaign, likely to have a goal in the hundreds of millions of dollars.
Tripathi echoed his remarks about the importance of philanthropy in a statement released Tuesday by the university. Grabowski was up to the challenge, said Tripathi.
“He is acutely aware that inspiring greater philanthropic giving and alumni engagement means the difference between being a very good public research university and being in the highest tier of public research universities,” he said. “And he has the demonstrated record of exemplary leadership to help us realize these ambitious and transformative goals.”
The university received $47.9 million in private contributions in 2015-16 and $54.8 million in 2016-17, according to the most recent audited financial statements of the University at Buffalo Foundation.
A native of Phoenix, Oswego County, Grabowski began his career in higher education fundraising at Alfred University, where he served as senior development officer and associate director of annual giving and alumni relations. He also has worked at the University of South Florida, the University of North Florida and Jacksonville University.
He has a bachelor's degree from Syracuse University and a master's in business administration from the University of North Florida.