Vermont Business Magazine Nationally recognized fundraiser and advancement leader Monica Delisa was named president and chief executive officer of the University of Vermont Foundation today by the foundation’s Board of Trustees. The appointment follows a competitive national search that attracted experienced industry leaders from across the country.
When she assumes leadership of the foundation on June 1, Delisa will guide and inspire approximately 80 staff members dedicated to leveraging connections with alumni and friends to continue and build on UVM’s success as a premier public research university.
Monica Delisa photo by Jared Jarvis
The UVM Foundation’s work advances all aspects of UVM’s Amplifying Our Impact strategic vision, which weaves together three core elements: ensuring student success, investing in the university’s distinctive research strengths around a healthy environment and healthy societies, and fulfilling the university’s land grant mission. Delisa will also play a key role in the foundation’s collaborative work with the University of Vermont Medical Center and the University of Vermont Health Network.
“Monica has built an outstanding reputation over the course of her career by focusing on the people who are at the heart of each institution’s mission,” said Diane Seder ’74, chair of the UVM Foundation’s Board of Directors. “Her commitment to donors, students, colleagues, and university partners has been proven again and again. On behalf of the foundation’s Board and Leadership Council, I am thrilled to welcome Monica to the UVM Foundation.”
“I’m sincerely grateful for the opportunity to join the amazing team at the University of Vermont Foundation,” said Delisa. “I’ve seen first-hand higher education’s power to transform the lives of individuals, families, and communities through education, research, and service. By connecting donors’ passions with the needs of the institution it serves, the UVM Foundation plays an essential role in improving lives in Vermont and around the world. I look forward to helping expand that impact.”
“It’s clear to me that Monica understands intuitively the work we are doing here at the University of Vermont—and why that work is so important,” said UVM President Suresh Garimella. “The breadth of her advancement experience, from agriculture to health sciences to liberal arts, is just right for the diversity of programs and endeavors on our campus. Coupled with her passion for serving others and deep respect for the land grant mission, I know that Monica will be an outstanding addition to our community.”
Delisa has a long track-record of success in complex higher education settings, including “Carnegie R1” universities and land grant universities. She most recently served as vice president for development at the University of South Carolina, where she reshaped and strengthened the development team, implementing industry best practices with an emphasis on prioritizing donor relationships.
Previously, Delisa directed advancement for Georgia College & State University, the state’s designated public liberal arts university.
While there, she built close relationships with donors that contributed to a 144% increase in giving over six years. She oversaw the establishment of over 150 new endowed scholarships and acquired the unique gift of “Andalusia,” the 500-acre homestead of renowned writer Flannery O’Connor. Earlier in her career, Delisa rose through the ranks as a standout fundraiser and mentor at the Texas A&M Foundation and the University of Arizona, where she began her career as an administrative assistant.
Delisa earned a Bachelor of Science in agricultural communications and a Master of Arts in journalism from the University of Arizona, and is currently completing a doctorate in higher education leadership at City University of Seattle.
Delisa will succeed James R. Keller, Sr. ’72, former chair of the UVM Foundation’s Board of Directors, who has served as interim president and CEO since January 2021.
“Jim dropped everything—in the middle of a global pandemic—to serve his beloved alma mater once again,” said Seder. “We are forever grateful to him for his leadership during this crucial period in the UVM Foundation’s and the university’s history—he leaves our organization in a very strong position for Monica.”
Previous CEO Shane Jacobson, who was hired in April 2017, left in December 2022 to take the position of CEO at the V Foundation.
About the University of Vermont Foundation
The University of Vermont Foundation is a nonprofit corporation dedicated to building relationships that yield private support for the benefit of the University of Vermont. It is defined by a culture of excellence, a belief in the power of philanthropy to change the world, and a commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. More information about the impact of donors and the work of the UVM Foundation can be found at www.uvmfoundation.org.
About the University of Vermont
Since 1791, the University of Vermont has worked to move humankind forward. UVM’s strengths align with the most pressing needs of our time: the health of our societies and the health of our environment. Our size—large enough to offer a breadth of ideas, resources, and opportunities, yet intimate enough to enable close faculty-student mentorship across all levels of study—allows us to pursue these interconnected issues through cross-disciplinary research and collaboration. Providing an unparalleled educational experience for our students, and ensuring their success, are at the core of what we do. As one of the nation’s first land grant universities, UVM advances Vermont and the broader society through the discovery and application of new knowledge.
UVM is derived from the Latin Universitas Viridis Montis (in English, “University of the Green Mountains”).
5.13.2022. Burlington, Vt. – University of Vermont UVM.edu