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Valerie Otten Named Senior Vice Chancellor for University Advancement

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Jeremy Haefner

Announcement  •

Dear DU Community,

Valerie Otten

I am very pleased to announce that Valerie “Val” Otten will join the University of Denver as senior vice chancellor for University Advancement, effective March 30, 2020. Val brings to our community a track record in leading highly productive teams and demonstrated achievements in fundraising results. She has over 25 years of experience as an advancement professional. For the past 10 years, Val has served as a senior advancement executive for the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) and previously, for University of California Santa Barbara, the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, Art Center College of Design, and the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation. She holds an MA in public communications from American University, and a BA in communications from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.

In this role, Val will oversee all University development and advancement operations, as well as global engagement. Reporting directly to the Chancellor, and a member of the Chancellor’s cabinet, she will be responsible for developing and strategically growing the advancement organization, including recruiting and retaining exceptional advancement staff as we move closer to the public launch of our next comprehensive campaign. An accomplished and experienced fundraiser, Val will build strong, sincere, and lasting relationships with the University’s alumni, parents and friends and will partner closely with the Chancellor, deans and university leadership as we garner resources to support University priorities.

 “I’m delighted to join the University of Denver community,” says Val. “I look forward to deepening the engagement of alumni, parents and friends, further developing the advancement organization, and raising the necessary resources to fund the University’s highest campaign priorities.”

In Val's most recent role as Associate Vice President of Development at Caltech, she developed and led a strong and diverse team of professionals who carried out the Institute’s $2 billion Break Through campaign while fostering a culture of innovation, creativity, collaboration, teamwork and accountability. In partnership with the President, academic leadership and the Vice President of Advancement and Alumni Relations, she developed long-term relationships and solicited principal and transformational gifts in support of Caltech's highest priorities. This includes helping to secure six gifts of more than $100 million including a $750 million commitment in support of renewable energy and sustainability.

This is a critical time for the University as higher education institutions across the country face continued pressure to not only prove their value but also to provide more support for financial support for families. It is more important than ever that we rely on the generosity of alumni, parents, and friends to help support the University’s priorities, including faculty research, student financial aid, and buildings to amplify ways for our community to work better together.

I look forward to working with Val as we prepare for our next campaign that will support and strengthen our future vision and goals for DU.

Val will be joined by her husband, Jim and their two children, Sydney and Nick. Please join me in congratulating Val and welcoming her and her family to the University of Denver.

On behalf of the entire Chancellor’s Cabinet, and many others across campus, I want to express deep gratitude to Brandon Buzbee for serving as interim vice chancellor for advancement since August 2019. Brandon will continue to make significant contributions to DU as associate vice chancellor for global networks. I am deeply grateful for his service in maintaining that role and for his steady leadership of the advancement division.

Finally, my sincere thanks go to Chancellor Emerita Rebecca Chopp who so ably chaired the search, and to the entire search committee (listed below) for its very thoughtful work in conducting a successful national search.

The other members of the committee are:

Ed Anderson, University of Denver Trustee; Leslie Brunelli, Senior Vice Chancellor for Financial Affairs & Treasurer; David Corsun, Director of the Fritz Knoebel School of Hospitality Management & Associate Professor; Craig Harrison, University of Denver Trustee; Paul Kosempel, Associate Director of the Pioneer Leadership Program & Teaching Professor; Fritz Mayer, Dean of the Josef Korbel School of International Studies; Amanda McBride, Dean of the Graduate School of Social Work; Renea Morris, Vice Chancellor for Marketing and Communications; Michael Ransom, Assistant Vice Chancellor of Development; Susan Schulten, Professor, Department of History, and Mike West; Alumnus (BSBA, ’75; MBA, ’81).




Jeremy Haefner