UC Santa Cruz appoints seasoned advancement professional as new vice chancellor of University Relations

Donna M. Murphy, an accomplished university advancement executive, has been selected to become the new vice chancellor of University Relations at the University of California, Santa Cruz. The announcement by Chancellor Denice D. Denton follows a national search to fill the position. Murphy will join the campus' senior leadership team on February 21.

photo of Donna Murphy

Donna M. Murphy will lead the campus' strategic communications, relationship building, and fundraising operations.
"I am extremely pleased to welcome Donna Murphy to UC Santa Cruz," Denton said. "She brings experience at two major universities and two international organizations that have provided her with a remarkable array of skills that will be instrumental in helping advance our already strong campus. Specifically, Donna has an impressive track record in fundraising, strategy, public affairs, and external relations that will be a real boost for UCSC and our ambitious goals as a nationally distinctive university."

Murphy also expressed enthusiasm. "UC Santa Cruz is an outstanding university built by impressive people who have achieved an outstanding record of accomplishments. It is a privilege to be joining with Chancellor Denton, UCSC's University Relations team, and the entire university community to make UCSC's ambitious goals become real," she said.

At UCSC, Murphy will oversee the Division of University Relations, with responsibility for leading and coordinating the Offices of Development, Alumni Relations, Public Affairs, Special Events, and Community and Governmental Relations.

At Tulane University in New Orleans, Murphy served as the senior associate vice president for Health Sciences Advancement. In that position, she led the planning, implementation, and management of development and alumni relations programs, legislative advocacy, and advancement communications.

Under Murphy's direction, the advancement staff at Tulane increased private support to the Health Sciences Center (HSC) by 36 percent and the number of donors by 1,000 from FY 2002 to 2005 during a period when the stock market and private support of universities nationwide suffered major declines after years of record growth. In this position, Murphy also spearheaded the development of a three-year business plan to prepare for the public launch of a $202 million campaign for the HSC. By the end of 2005, the campaign was 77 percent ($156 million) toward its goal.

Prior to joining Tulane, Murphy was vice president for development at the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative in New York with responsibility for strategic development, management, and solicitation of major donors, foundations, and corporations. Previously, she served as associate vice president for global marketing at Save the Children, where she planned and launched the organization's first major gifts program.

From 1973 to 1995, Murphy worked at the University of Oklahoma, serving in a number of increasingly senior university relations positions--including interim vice president for university affairs, assistant vice president for university affairs, and director of development at OU's Norman campus. During her tenure, she provided leadership for the university's Centennial Campaign, which raised $150 million, and launched the successful campaign to build the Oklahoma Museum of Natural History.

Steve Kang, UCSC's dean of engineering, chaired the search committee's national search for the UCSC vice chancellor. Tom Vani, vice chancellor for Business and Administrative Services, and Elizabeth Irwin, associate vice chancellor for communications, have jointly filled the position on an interim basis since August.

Murphy, a native of Norman, Oklahoma, is married to Brian Sweeney, who has operated his own consulting practice with more than 40 U.S. and international clients since 1975. A Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of Oklahoma, Murphy has two adult sons, Michael, who resides in Durant, OK, and Patrick, who resides in Moore, OK, with his wife, Kim, and family. Her father, Walter Vanderburg, lives in Norman.