Danita Nias joined FAU in October 2016 to lead the university into a new era of donor relations and to spearhead a capital campaign. Nias oversees all FAU fundraising efforts, including principal gifts, planned giving and alumni relations. Prior to arriving at FAU, she served as senior associate vice president for external affairs at the University of Florida. In that role, she was responsible for managing a portfolio of major donors and prospects while managing the university's campaign strategy and structure for volunteers.
From 1995 to 2011, Nias held numerous leadership positions at the University of Maryland, including assistant vice president for development and alumni relations. She has a bachelor's degree with a concentration in personnel and labor relations from the Robert H. Smith School of Business at Maryland and a Master of Social Science with a concentration in international relations from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University.
Ronald J. Schiller
Founding Partner of the Aspen Leadership Group and the Philanthropy Career Network, Ronald J. Schiller is a nationally recognized advisor to presidents, board members, and other leaders in higher education, arts and cultural organizations, health care, and social and community services. Since 2011, he has focused his attention on executive search and strategic consulting, drawing on his experience as fundraising leader, executive team member, board member, and search consultant built over a 30-year career.
Ron has held leadership positions in seven educational and cultural institutions, including the University of Chicago, where he led a team of more than 450 that completed a $2.3 billion campaign and facilitated two nine-figure gifts. A recipient of CASE’s Crystal Apple Award for Teaching Excellence, he serves on the faculty of the annual CASE conference, Inspiring the Largest Gifts of a Lifetime and has served as co-chair of CASE's Winter Institute for Chief Development Officers. He is the author of three books: The Chief Development Officer: Beyond Fundraising, published by Rowman & Littlefield; Belief and Confidence: Donors Talk About Successful Philanthropic Partnership, published by CASE Books; and Raising Your Organization’s Largest Gifts: A Principal Gifts Handbook, also published by CASE.
Ron has served on the Cornell University Council and on the boards of the American Friends of Covent Garden, Chicago's Harris Theater for Music and Dance, the Cornell University Glee Club Alumni Board, the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, Aspen’s Buddy Program, the Cayuga Chamber Orchestra, the Salt Bay Chamberfest, and the Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh. He received his bachelor’s degree from Cornell University.
Professor Jen Shang is the world’s first PhD in Philanthropy. She is also the world’s only philanthropic psychologist. Her research has been covered in the New York Times, BBC, The Guardian, the Chronicle of Philanthropy, Advancing Philanthropy and the Nonprofit Times. Jen has been published in numerous academic journals including, the Journal of Marketing Research, Marketing Science, the Economic Journal, Experimental Economics, Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, and Nonprofit Management and Leadership. Her research has been funded by the Society of Judgment and Decision Making, the National Science Foundation, The Aspen Institute, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the Association of Fundraising Professionals, and the Hewlett Foundation.
Rebecca Tseng Smith
Rebecca Tseng Smith is the senior executive director of development for the University of California San Diego.
Previously, she served as vice president of development for the University of Hawai'i Foundation and associate dean for external relations at Stanford University's School of Education. Smith believes that the ideas of relational fundraising, as described by David R. Dunlop, provide the best principles to guide our practice, and she has had an opportunity to put these ideas to work at each of the universities she has served.
At Cornell University, she worked in the major and principal gift programs and later served as assistant dean for alumni affairs and development in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Cornell's $1 billion campaign for endowment was launched and completed during her years there and she participated in many different aspects of it, from developing strategies for the solicitations of lead givers and recruiting and motivating campaign volunteers to celebrating in the College of Agriculture when they completed the campaign at 45 percent over goal. In 1997, she joined the major gift program at Harvard University where she worked with alumni in New York City and Washington, D.C., and assisted with Harvard's campaign to raise $2.1 billion. At Stanford University she led the School of Education's participation in "The Stanford Challenge," which raised new funds directed toward solving complex problems, like K-12 school reform.
Smith served on the American Cancer Society's National Blue Ribbon Advisory Committee, which studied and advised the society on its fundraising practices and long-term goals.
She earned a bachelor's degree in English literature and a master's degree in theology at Boston University. She spent her first undergraduate years at Eckerd College, a small liberal arts college in Florida.
Ambassador Ronald P. Spogli
Ronald P. Spogli is the former United States Ambassador to the Italian Republic and to the Republic of San Marino. He was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on June 30, 2005 and served until February 6, 2009. In 2008, he received the Sue M. Cobb Award for Exemplary Diplomatic Service, the only honor given by the State Department to a political appointee ambassador.
In 1983, together with Bradford M. Freeman, Spogli founded Freeman Spogli & Co., one of the leading middle market private equity investors in the United States. Based in Los Angeles and with offices in New York, Freeman Spogli & Co. has invested in 59 companies with aggregate values of over $22 billion. In the course of his activities, Ambassador Spogli has served on the board of directors of over twenty companies and organizations, including the Investment Committee at California Institute of Technology, and the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board. Currently, he serves on the Boards of Trustees of The J. Paul Getty Trust, Public Storage, the W. M. Keck Foundation, the Center for American Studies in Rome, Italy, and of White Bridge Investments, an Italian investment company.
As a result of his university and life experiences, Ambassador Spogli is a champion of international studies and dedicated supporter of his alma mater, Stanford University, where he has endowed two university positions: the Gesue and Helen Spogli Professorship in Italian Studies and The Spogli Family Overseas Studies Director position at the Florence, Italy campus. Together with his business partner and friend for over thirty-five years, Bradford M. Freeman, he endowed The Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies (FSI). FSI is a university-wide research and education institution at Stanford devoted to understanding the problems, policies, and processes that cross international borders and affect lives around the world. Through its interdisciplinary faculty and its 12 centers and research programs, the Institute advances knowledge and understanding of governance, health policy, migration, development, security, and the dynamics of regions such as Asia, Europe, and Latin America. The Institute's faculty lead interdisciplinary research programs, educate graduate and undergraduate students, and organize policy outreach that engages Stanford in solving some of the world's most pressing problems.
A California native, Ambassador Spogli received his A.B. in history from Stanford University in 1970 and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa in his junior year. He earned an MBA degree at Harvard Business School in 1975. Having lived and worked abroad in Florence and Milan for two years during his time at Stanford, he became fluent in Italian and developed a keen interest in international affairs.
Ambassador Spogli was born in Los Angeles on March 25, 1948 and is married to Georgia Beth Caudle. They have two children.