Rob Donelson joined the University this week as Executive Director of Advancement, here he tells us a little more about his new role.

Tell us about your role at the University.

I oversee our alumni and development (fundraising) programs with a view to supporting the overall mission and priorities of the University. We seek to engage as many alumni as possible in the life of the university, with students and with each other, and we meet with individuals, companies and foundations whom we think would have an interest in supporting the University. In that sense, a major focus of our efforts is relationship building both internally and externally, and showcasing the people and strengths of the University. Specially, major part of my mandate is to get us ready to launch a major fundraising campaign in the near future.

How do you usually start your day?

I like to get up early and go for a run most days. I find this clears my head and gives me energy for the day ahead. I like to scan the news and social media over breakfast, and listen to podcasts on my walk to work.

What brought you to the University of Aberdeen?

The quality and profile of the University, combined with the opportunity to generate significant funds which will have an enduring impact. All of this appealed to me. Personally, my wife and I have a perfect window of opportunity in our lives to work and live internationally. In addition, my mother was born in Scotland, so I have a direct link to the country which also appealed to me.

What’s your favourite thing about your job?

I love meeting alumni and friends of the university. I am impressed and inspired by their passion for their time here and their belief in the value of a university education. They motivate me to find innovative ways to use their talent and commitment.

What are your work priorities at the moment?

Having just started on November 25, my first priority is to get to know my new team, their roles and the many programs they coordinate. I plan to call and meet with many key alumni and donors of the university. Finally, I am busy meeting with university academic and administrative leadership to learn about their roles, explore synergies and how my office can support them.

How do you like to relax outside work?

Apart from periodic runs, I enjoy reading and cooking. My wife and I enjoy having friends for dinner. We’ve already started exploring Aberdeen and look forward to travelling throughout Scotland in the months ahead. Facetiming with our kids back in Canada is also a pleasure.