University of Miami official to lead GW’s fundraising, alumni engagement effort

Donna Arbide, a veteran fundraising and alumni engagement official, will serve as GW’s next vice president for development and alumni relations, the University announced Friday.

Arbide, who currently serves as the interim senior vice president for development and alumni relations at the University of Miami, will lead GW’s fundraising and alumni outreach effort beginning in March, according to a release. She will take over for Matt Manfra, who has been the interim leader of the office since January.

Manfra will return to his previous role as associate vice president for alumni relations, according to the release.

University President Thomas turned to the University of Miami, where he spent more than a decade as provost and chief budget officer, to make the first major hire of his tenure at GW. LeBlanc said in October that the search for a development vice president would give him a chance to begin assembling his team at GW.

“I’ve had the privilege to work alongside President LeBlanc for many years and I’m looking forward to working with him and the University leadership to strengthen alumni and development initiatives,” Arbide said in the release.

Arbide has worked at Miami for about 30 years in the alumni relations and fundraising field. LeBlanc said her experience will be a key asset to GW.

“I saw firsthand her strategic leadership and ability to enhance community among alumni and direct successful fundraising campaigns,” he said in the release.

During her time at Miami, Arbide oversaw alumni relations, annual giving and parent programs. She was the chief fundraiser for a project to build a new alumni center on Miami’s Coral Gables campus, according to the release. Miami completed a $1.6 billion fundraising campaign in 2015.

LeBlanc has made boosting the University’s fundraising effort a major goal of his young tenure. At the beginning of the academic year he said he wanted to assess the University’s fundraising efforts following the success of GW’s $1 billion campaign, which wrapped up in June.

Arbide will be the third official to hold her position in a little more than a year. Aristide Collins stepped down as vice president for development and alumni relations in January to lead LeBlanc’s presidential transition team.

Arbide, who received a master’s degree in business administration at the University of Miami, has served as a board member for the Council for Advancement and Support of Education. She was the chair of CASE’s Commission on Alumni Relations, which sought to create broad standards for alumni engagement.

The announcement comes just a month after LeBlanc announced the search for a new development vice president in October. The University has also been looking to fill several alumni relations and development positions in schools across the University.

The Hatchet has disabled comments on our website. Learn more.