Development staff directory
Samantha Wheeler Marrs
Senior Associate Vice President for Development Operations
Phone: (804) 828-1229
Email: email@example.comView bio
Samantha Wheeler Marrs joined VCU in 2000 as director of corporate and foundation relations.
Today, her primary responsibility is to manage key DAR areas, including budget, Strategic Marketing and Engagement and Advancement Services, including donor relations, communications, annual giving, regional philanthropy and corporate and foundation relations.
Her previous experience includes eight years as program associate at The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, where she coordinated higher-education grants. She holds degrees from Smith College and Columbia University. She has served as president of a local middle school PTA, chair of the board of the Virginia Poverty Law Center and secretary/treasurer of the board of VirginiaFIRST, a nonprofit dedicated to expanding STEM activities across the commonwealth.
Carrie Naumann (M.P.A.’08/GPA; Cert.’08/H&S)
Acting Co-Director of Prospect Development
Phone: (804) 828-2850
Email: firstname.lastname@example.orgView bio
Carrie Naumann joined VCU in October 2012. She provides primary prospect research, management and strategy support to various campus partners. She also is helping support the growth of data analytics within the prospect development office. She received a B.A. in government and international relations from George Mason University and an M.P.A. and certificate in nonprofit management from VCU. Before joining VCU, Naumann worked in prospect research for a nonprofit consulting firm in New York City as well as for the marketing and communications department of the Metropolitan Opera. She is webmaster for the Association of Professional Researchers for Advancement Virginia Chapter and has been involved with Women in Development, N.Y., New York Women’s Agenda, APRA Greater New York Chapter and the Association of Fundraising Professionals’ Fundraising Day in New York.
Acting Co-Director of Prospect Development
Phone: (804) 828-4546
Email: email@example.comView bio
A member of the VCU team since 2014, Ben Bromley earned a B.A. in history and religious studies from the College of William & Mary and a M.S.I.S. in information science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His career has spanned different facets of managing information, having previously worked in special collections and archives for William & Mary and the Library of Virginia.
Associate Director of Prospect Development
Phone: (804) 828-0808
Email: firstname.lastname@example.orgView bio
Adrienne E. Robertson
Sr. Prospect Research Analyst
Email: email@example.comView bio
Sr. Prospect Development Analyst
Phone: (804) 828-2043
Email: firstname.lastname@example.orgView bio
Gifts and Records Management
Mandy L. Smith
Director of Gifts and Records Management
Phone: (804) 828-0348
Email: email@example.comView bio
Senior Financial Technician
Phone: (804) 828-9430
Email: firstname.lastname@example.orgView bio
Data Integrity Coordinator
Email: email@example.comView bio
Clevon Hall earned his B.A. in English and film studies from Randolph-Macon College in January 2017 and joined VCU in February 2017 as a data entry clerk. While a student, he worked as an assistant for the R-MC Office of College Advancement.
Heidi Hernandez (B.A.’10/H&S)
Data Integrity Specialist
Phone: (804) 828-9812
Email: firstname.lastname@example.orgView bio
A member of the VCU team since 2012, Heidi Hernandez has a B.A. in English from VCU. Her previous work experiences involved inventory control data management and sales auditing in the retail industry.
Matching Gift and Compliance Specialist
Phone: (804) 828-1672
Email: email@example.comView bio
Khaleliah N. Williams
Assistant Director of Gift Accounting
Phone: (804) 828-9430
Email: firstname.lastname@example.orgView bio
Gift Accounting Analyst
Phone: (804) 828-5019
Email: email@example.comView bio
Melanie Riezner joined the VCU team in 2015 as a transaction analyst. She has a B.S. in psychology from the University of Houston. Before relocating to Virginia, she spent 17 years at a Houston nonprofit in various roles, including director of gift records.
Connie M. Rigsby
Manager of Data Integrity
Phone: (804) 828-0288
Email: firstname.lastname@example.orgView bio
A member of the VCU team since 2011, Connie Rigsby has more than 20 years of experience in Advancement Services with an emphasis on IRS guidelines, CASE best practices, database management and data integrity, all while adhering to the intentions of donors.
Rob Downs (M.S.’06/B)
Executive Director, DAR Information Systems
Phone: (804) 828-0421
Email: email@example.comView bio
A member of the VCU team for more than 10 years, Rob Downs has a B.S. from James Madison University and an M.S. from VCU. He was worked in VCU Technology Services, Creative Services and Advancement Services in all aspects of web and technology.
Nate Parker (B.S.’10/B)
Director of CRM Development
Phone: (804) 827-4587
Email: firstname.lastname@example.orgView bio
A member of the VCU team since 2011, Nate Parker earned a B.S. in information systems with a concentration in application development from VCU in 2010. He is part of the team that implemented the new DAR online giving and event database, systems and websites.
Matthew E. Chitty (B.S.’01/B)
Phone: (804) 828-9853
Email: email@example.comView bio
Matt Kane (B.F.A.’06/A; Cert.’09/B; M.S.’17/B)
Director of Data Management and Analytics
Phone: (804) 828-0462
Email: firstname.lastname@example.orgView bio
Jeff Green (B.F.A.’08/A)
Email: email@example.comView bio
Jeff Green joined the VCU team as a web developer in 2014. His main responsibilities include event registration and giving forms as well as maintaining and developing the VCU Alumni website, DAR support website and DAR intranet. He has a B.F.A. in graphic design from VCU and worked previously as a graphic designer and web developer.
Director of Desktop and Systems Support
Phone: (804) 828-5315
Email: firstname.lastname@example.orgView bio
Matt Yopp, who joined the VCU team in 2012, has a B.A. from Collins College and holds A+ Certification and HDI CSR Certification. He has 10 years experience in IT and related technology fields.
William “Chris” Faris
Desktop and Systems Engineer
Phone: (804) 828-2285
Email: email@example.comView bio
William "Chris" Faris joined Advancement Services in 2016 as a desktop support technician. Faris has more than 10 years' experience in the IT support field and holds Network+ and HDI CSR certifications.
Budget and Finance
Henry Davis III
Executive Director of Finance and Budget
Phone: (804) 828-5142
Email: firstname.lastname@example.orgView bio
Henry Davis joined VCU in June 2014 as director of finance and budget.
A licensed C.P.A. in Virginia, Davis spent 10 years as controller at GRTC followed by three years as CFO. He was responsible for a $45 million operating budget and a $9 million capital budget.
Davis earned a bachelor's in commerce with a concentration in accounting from the University of Virginia.
Lutie Hanson (B.A.’89/H&S)
Assistant to the Director of Finance and Budget
Phone: (804) 828-1219
Email: email@example.comView bio
Adam Eddy (B.S.’10/E)
Budget and Finance Administrator
Phone: (804) 628-0248
Email: firstname.lastname@example.orgView bio
Kelly McKay (M.S.’16/B)
Budget and Finance Administrator
Phone: (804) 628-0137
Email: email@example.comView bio
Strategic Marketing and Engagement
Melanie Irvin (B.S.’96/MC)
Assistant Vice President, Strategic Marketing and Engagement
Phone: (804) 828-3975
Email: firstname.lastname@example.orgView bio
In 2019, Melanie Irvin was named assistant vice president of Strategic Marketing and Engagement, a new division in the Office of Development and Alumni Relations that brings together Annual Giving, DAR Communications and Donor Relations and Events. Previously, Irvin lead the DAR Communications team for 13 years. Before arriving at VCU, Irvin spent nine years at the Richmond Times-Dispatch. She holds a bachelor degree in mass communications with a double major in political science from VCU, where she was executive editor of the thrice-weekly Commonwealth Times, and is a 2012 graduate of the VCU Leadership Development Program at the Grace E. Harris Leadership Institute. In 2011, she won an Emmy for her work on an institutional philanthropy commercial, “Invest in VCU.”
Kristen Caldwell (B.S.’94/MC)
Executive Director, DAR Communications
Phone: (804) 828-3977
Email: email@example.comView bio
Kristen Caldwell joined VCU in 2006 as a managing editor and assistant creative director in University Relations before joining the DAR Communications team in 2015. In her role of associate director of development and alumni marketing and communications, she manages the VCU Alumni magazines, Shafer Court Connections and Scarab; writes and develops communications for membership campaigns and alumni events; and sets strategy for social media. She holds a bachelor's degree in mass communications from VCU.
Mitchell Moore (B.S.’07/MC; M.S.’08/E)
Senior Director of Creative Content
Phone: (804) 827-3617
Email: firstname.lastname@example.orgView bio
Mitchell Moore joined DAR Communications in January 2014. In his current role, he serves as creative director for all donor and alumni digital and print productions, including Impact donor magazine, Shafer Court Connections and Scarab alumni magazines, direct mail solicitations, donor events and alumni programming. Moore has worked as part of multiple CASE award-winning productions, including a Grand Award for graphic design of a donor impact report in 2016. Before joining DAR, he spent six years in the VCU Athletics Communications office as a graphic designer and primary media relations contact for six intercollegiate sports. Moore holds a bachelor’s degree in mass communications and a master’s in recreation, parks and sport leadership from VCU.
Desiree Charity (B.S.’17/MC)
Creative Content Specialist
Phone: (804) 827-2349
Email: email@example.comView bio
Assistant Director of Creative Content
Phone: (804) 828-1223
Email: firstname.lastname@example.orgView bio
Terri Curtis is a leading graphic designer with a passion for higher education design. In 2015, she joined VCU as a creative content assistant. In DAR, Curtis visually reaches out to alumni, donors, friends and colleagues. Previously, Curtis worked for Virginia State University, contributing her diverse design and marketing skills for several campaigns. She holds a bachelor's of fine arts degree in graphic design from VSU and was named Better Creative Directors on the VSU homepage in 2014 to promote the graphic design program. Curtis received a Master of Professional Studies in the Business of Art and Design (M.P.S. BAD) from the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) in 2019.
Jud Froelich (M.S.’21/B)
Assistant Director of Creative Media
Phone: (804) 828-5563
Email: email@example.comView bio
Associate Director, DAR Communications
Phone: (804) 828-3977
Email: firstname.lastname@example.orgView bio
Assistant Director, DAR Communications
Phone: (804) 467-2316
Email: email@example.comView bio
Brelyn Powell joined VCU in 2016. In her role of assistant director for DAR Communications, she leads communication efforts for VCU's Invest in Me campaign; writes feature articles for online and print publications; manages DAR's quarterly donor e-newsletter; maintains the support.vcu.edu site; manages communications for the Black & Gold & You employee giving campaign; and produces other communications as needed in support of annual giving, planned giving, alumni and stewardship efforts. She graduated from Christopher Newport University in 2014 with a B.A. in English with a concentration in writing, and has maintained a focus on writing for public relations, development and civic engagement throughout her career.
Jenna Baer Hart (B.S.’06/B)
Senior Director, Constituent Marketing
Phone: (804) 828-0232
Email: firstname.lastname@example.orgView bio
Jenna Hart joined VCU in August 2014 as associate director of annual giving. She works to increase alumni participation by focusing annual giving operations on retaining, renewing and acquiring alumni donors. She earned a B.S. in business administration and management from Virginia Commonwealth University and a master's in human resource management from the University of Richmond. She spent five years working at the University of Richmond, where she managed direct mail, email and social media annual solicitations for the undergraduate alumni population. She also recruited, trained and motivated more than 250 alumni volunteers who worked toward the university's class giving goal of $2 million annually.
Katie Buzby (B.S.’10/B)
Director of Constituent Marketing
Email: email@example.comView bio
A member of the DAR team since 2011, Katie Buzby leads the team of constituent marketing associates who interact with all campus partners to execute DAR-related business communications. She is responsible for coordination, scheduling and quality control for alumni and donor emails, direct mail and event communications. She earned a B.S. in marketing with a minor in Spanish language from VCU in 2010. Buzby won the DAR Spirit Award in 2015.
Constituent Marketing Specialist
Phone: (804) 828-0880
Email: firstname.lastname@example.orgView bio
Kyle Springer (B.F.A.’15/A)
Digital Content Specialist, Constituent Marketing
Email: email@example.comView bio
Brendan Hood (B.S.’15/B; Cert.’15/DVC; M.B.A.’19/B)
Associate Director of Constituent Marketing
Phone: (804) 827-3574
Email: firstname.lastname@example.orgView bio
Brendan Hood, a member of the DAR team since 2015, supports DAR's campus partners in their efforts to engage constituents through strategic marketing and communications. Hood consults with partners on multichannel strategies, ensures consistent messaging and coordinates projects through VCU’s CRM, RADAR. He holds a B.S. in marketing and an M.B.A. from VCU, where he was president of the student alumni association and student representative to the university's Board of Visitors.
Senior Director, Marketing Strategy
Phone: (804) 937-2409
Email: email@example.comView bio
Parks Smith formerly worked for the alumni relations office at his alma mater, Longwood University. He focuses his energies at VCU on enhancing the alumni volunteer experience and directs our alumni volunteer engagement strategy with a focus on how to recruit, train, retain and steward alumni into meaningful volunteer roles.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.orgView bio
Joshua Cross joined VCU in March 2018 as communications analyst. He graduated with a B.S. in Information Science from Christopher Newport University in 2010. Before joining DAR, he was in the inaugural class of University Fellowship Program at Christopher Newport and later was responsible for maintaining the database used in communicating with prospective students.
Anthony Langley (B.S.’16/MC)
Assistant Director of Digital Media Strategy
Phone: (804) 828-0022
Email: email@example.comView bio
Anthony Langley joined DAR Communications in October 2015 and earned his B.S. in public relations from VCU’s Robertson School of Media and Culture in 2016. During his time as a student, he helped design public relations campaigns for the Central Virginia Emergency Management Alliance and the Virginia Department of Social Services. He is responsible for researching and writing articles for the alumni magazine, website, and monthly e-newsletter, as well as helping to develop social media strategies and campaigns.
Jenn Papenfuse (M.P.A.’06/GPA; Cert.’06/GPA)
Senior Director, Stewardship Programs
Phone: (804) 828-0745
Email: firstname.lastname@example.orgView bio
A member of the VCU team since 2004 (she started as a student worker), Jenn Papenfuse has a B.A. from the University of Virginia and an M.P.A. from VCU.
She won the DAR Team Spirit Award in 2012.
Debrielle K. Williams (B.S.’13/H&S)
Associate Director, Donor Engagement Operations
Phone: (804) 828-2049
Email: email@example.comView bio
Debrielle Williams joined the VCU DAR staff while still an undergraduate in 2012. She previously served as an administrative assistant to the development coordinator at the nonprofit Greater Richmond SCAN. She obtained her bachelor's degree in sociology from VCU in 2013.
DAR Signature Events
Executive Director, DAR Signature Events
Phone: (804) 828-7162
Email: firstname.lastname@example.orgView bio
Ashley Burton joined VCU Alumni as the director of alumni reunion and recognition programs in August 2018. She is responsible for the strategy, growth and success of reunions on the MCV and Monroe Park campuses. She also ensures that alumni are appropriately recognized for their contributions, both personally and professionally, through meaningful award ceremonies and events.
Most recently, Burton spent six years at the VCU School of the Arts in Qatar, where she managed events, festivals, ceremonies, conferences and diplomatic and VIP protocol. Before working in Qatar, she worked at VCU Massey Cancer Center, where she led sponsorship, fundraising and marketing for the center’s largest fundraising event, The Massey Challenge.
She maintains a professional certification as a Certified Special Event Professional through the International Live Events Association and is a licensed trainer by The Protocol School of Washington to teach intercultural etiquette and protocol.
Burton is a graduate of Longwood University and earned a certificate in event management from The George Washington University.
Lauren Sformo Leavy (Cert.'19/GPA)
Associate Director, DAR Signature Events
Phone: (804) 628-2249
Email: email@example.comView bio
Lauren joined VCU Alumni as a project coordinator for outreach and engagement in February 2017 and became senior coordinator of alumni engagement events in August 2017. In her current role, she coordinates recognition programs such as 10 Under 10, and the alumni-owned business program. Lauren also assists with the MCV Campus Reunion Weekend and other recognition programs.
Before coming to Richmond, Lauren worked in the event planning field for five years in Rochester, New York. She received her B.A. in Communications Studies and Digital Media Arts from Canisius College in Buffalo, New York. Lauren received her Corporate Event Planning Certificate through the VCU Office of Continuing and Professional Education in 2017 and her Certificate in Nonprofit Management from the L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs in 2019.
Michael P. Andrews (M.S.’05/E)
Executive Director, Strategic Initiatives
Phone: (804) 828-0236
Email: firstname.lastname@example.orgView bio
A member of the VCU staff since 2006, Michael P. Andrews earned a B.S. from Hofstra University and a master's from VCU. After seven years of business-to-business sales and marketing experience with two Fortune 500 companies, he transitioned into higher education. Today, his primary focus is generating annual fund revenue streams through direct marketing via mail, phone, digital, crowdfunding and emerging technology strategies.
He excels in multichannel marketing, emphasizing alumni engagement and fundraising. In August 2011, Andrews split responsibilities with the College of Humanities and Sciences and Development and Alumni Relations to build the university's first centralized annual giving office. In 2012-2013, Andrews was instrumental in building out a 19-center, on-site call center known as the Gold Line. It continues to be the most successful tool in the effort to attract alumni donors.
Since his arrival in DAR, Andrews has been the catalyst for increasing alumni participation donors by 42 prcent (8,064 in FY12 to 11,469 in FY18). That increase in alumni donors also helped to increase alumni annual giving revenue to from $12.7 million in FY12 to $40.1 million in FY18.
In 2013, Andrews received an Emmy award for his role in producing the "Invest in VCU" TV spot. In February 2016, under his direction, the annual giving office received Platinum and Gold honors from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education. In April 2016, Andrews earned a merit award in the CASE category of Brief Events and Observances for the Battle for the Capital Alumni Giving Challenge.
Jessie Pilot (M.S.’19/B)
Assistant Director, Strategic Initiatives
Phone: (804) 827-2664
Email: email@example.comView bio
Jessie Pilot has been a member of the DAR team since May 2015. She has a B.A. in communication from Virginia Tech and an M.S. in business from VCU. Her duties include working with campus partners on their annual giving solicitations, coordinating mailings and organizing and implementing an approach for each area to achieve its annual giving goals. She also manages the Igniter crowdfunding platform.