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University Names Accomplished Fundraising Executive to Lead University Advancement
Brian Otis will join the University as vice president for advancement, overseeing all fundraising, alumni relations, prospect management, and donor relations initiatives. He joins the University from the University of Connecticut Foundation, where he has spent the last two decades.
August 26, 2021
The University of New Haven announced today that Brian Otis, a successful fundraising executive with nearly three decades of experience, has been named its new vice president for advancement, effective September 13. He will oversee all fundraising, alumni relations, prospect management, and donor relations initiatives.
Otis joins the University from the University of Connecticut Foundation, where he has spent the last two decades, most recently serving as vice president for principal and planned gifts for the last five years.
"An accomplished fundraiser and senior philanthropy executive, Brian has an outstanding track record building a successful development operation that has had a transformational impact on the lives of countless students," said President Steven H. Kaplan, Ph.D. "I am confident his work will help build upon the momentum and incredible success of our recently completed Charger Challenge centennial campaign and position us to reach even greater heights as we continue investing in the University of New Haven educational experience and the limitless potential of our students."
At UConn, Otis dramatically expanded the principal gift pipeline at the $1 million and up gift level, secured UConn's second largest principal gift of $22.5 million, and was responsible for working with key leaders, including the president, provost, athletic director, deans, and foundation board members, to help build and strengthen relationships with the foundation's largest donors. His leadership in advancement during more than two decades has helped increase the University's endowment from just over $50 million to more than $500 million.
"Working to support the educational needs of students, faculty, and staff in higher education has been gratifying far beyond my own expectations," said Otis, who earned a bachelor's degree in history from Castleton University in Vermont and an executive MBA from the University of Connecticut. "The opportunity to join the University of New Haven will enable me to bring my results‐oriented leadership and experience to guide an accomplished advancement team grounded in the values of providing educational access and opportunity through transformative philanthropy."
"I am confident Brian's work will help build upon the momentum and incredible success of our recently completed Charger Challenge centennial campaign and position us to reach even greater heights."President Steven H. Kaplan, Ph.D.
Prior to being named vice president for principal and planned gifts at the UConn Foundation, Otis spent six years as vice president for development. During that time, he led the foundation's fundraising campaign to construct a $35 million on-campus basketball practice facility, accounting for the most private dollars raised for any capital project on campus. He also created a new regional major gifts program and designed and implemented performance-based metrics across the development operation.
Before joining UConn, he started his career in fundraising as a development officer at Cheshire Academy, where he recruited a volunteer leadership group that raised more than $5 million to construct the first privately funded academic building at the school. He has served as a member of Cheshire Academy's Board of Trustees for the last five years.
At the end of 2020, the University of New Haven concluded its Charger Challenge, a comprehensive campaign launched in 2016 as a precursor to the University's centennial in 2020. In total, the campaign raised $167 million, including $32 million in grants and contracts, far exceeding its original goal of $100 million, with the centerpiece being the Bergami Center for Science, Technology, and Innovation, a cutting-edge and technologically advanced 45,000 square-foot facility that is one of the finest learning spaces in the country.