FAU Hires New Vice President for Advancement
Florida Atlantic University has appointed one of the country’s most successful fundraisers to lead the university into a new era of donor relations and to spearhead a capital campaign.
Danita Nias, who across two decades helped the University of Florida and theUniversity of Maryland raise millions of dollars, was appointed vice president for institutional advancement and chief executive officer of the Florida Atlantic University Foundation. She will begin her new role in South Florida by the end of October.
Nias will lead all FAU fundraising efforts, including principal gifts, planned giving and alumni relations. She also will play a leading role to determine, strategize and execute a capital fundraising campaign designed to generate millions of dollars for scholarships and other strategic goals.
FAU President John Kelly said her appointment will not only change fundraising at FAU, but raise the bar for giving throughout Broward and Palm Beach counties and beyond.
“Danita has a passion for fundraising. She has a proven track record of success throughout her career, and we are delighted to have her bring such a wealth of experience to FAU,” Kelly said. “At FAU we play to win. Danita’s appointment will make schools around the country sit up and take notice.”
Nias joined the University of Florida in July 2011 as executive director of the Alumni Association and associate vice president for alumni relations. She then became senior associate vice president and executive director for alumni affairs and, most recently, senior associate vice president for external affairs.
In her most recent role, Nias was responsible for managing a portfolio of major donors and prospects while overseeing the University of Florida’s campaign strategy and structure for volunteers. She provided leadership for student affairs philanthropy and led efforts to strengthen the university’s foundation initiatives.
From 1995 to 2011, Nias held numerous leadership positions at Maryland, including senior associate director of Athletics, executive director for Alumni Relations and assistant vice president for Development and Alumni Relations.
She has a bachelor’s degree with a concentration in personnel and labor relations from the Robert H. Smith School of Business at Maryland and a Master of Social Science with a concentration in international relations from theMaxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University. She also serves or has served on numerous industry-related boards.
Nias said FAU already is a leading research university. Her role will be to help implement the university’s strategic plan, the Race to Excellence, through stronger donor and alumni relations and through development of a capital fundraising campaign.
Her selection was made after a national search coordinated by international executive selection firm Korn Ferry.
“South Florida, and FAU in particular, is rich in opportunity. It is a region full of intellectual and scientific expertise, corporate champions and generous philanthropists,” Nias said. “Many of these individuals are eager to give back in recognition of the opportunities they received. Part of my role at FAU will be to help foster these relationships and create a renewed sense of belonging with the university. We will build a team to do just that.”
Patricia McKay, FAU Foundation board chair, said Nias represents another stellar hire for the university.
“FAU continues to raise its student entrance requirements, attract world-renowned faculty and appoint seasoned professionals to its leadership team — and Danita Nias certainly is another example of this,” McKay said. “What an incredible addition to the university she is.”