Joshua R. Newton
President and CEO
Interim Chief Financial Officer
Melissa Maynard is responsible for tax compliance, financial reporting, audit, budget development, payroll and debt compliance. She has been with the foundation since 2003. As controller since 2010, Melissa has overseen the accounting department. Before joining the foundation, Melissa was a financial analyst for an insurance company. She earned a BS in accounting from Central Connecticut State University.
Suzanne M. O’Conor
Suzanne O'Connor manages and coordinates legal work for all departments within the foundation. Before assuming her current role as counsel in 2000, Suzanne served as a development officer in charge of planned gifts from 1995 to 1999. Prior to joining the foundation, Suzanne was an associate at Shipman & Goodwin. She is a member of the Connecticut Bar Association and the American Bar Association. Suzanne graduated with high honors with a JD from the University of Connecticut School of Law, and with honors with a BA in economics from the College of Holy Cross.
Brian J. Otis
Vice President for Development
Brian Otis is responsible for the foundation’s fundraising program and works closely with the associate vice presidents for constituent and central programs and the senior director of development for athletics to plan and implement effective fundraising strategies across the university. In addition to his fundraising management responsibilities, he manages a personal caseload of prospects and he staffs the UConn Foundation Board of Directors Development Committee. Since joining the foundation in 1998, Brian has held positions as assistant director for major gifts, both associate director and director of development for the School of Business, associate vice president for development and vice president for development and campaign management. Previously, he served as a development and major gifts officer at Cheshire Academy, a preparatory school in Cheshire, Conn. Brian earned a BA from Castleton State College and an EMBA from the School of Business at the University of Connecticut.
Associate Vice President for Development, Constituent Programs
Frank Gifford leads and manages a fundraising staff deployed through 13 schools and colleges supporting 24 constituent programs within the University, including regional campuses. He has been with the UConn Foundation since 1995, serving in a wide variety of roles, among them director of campaign operations for Campaign UConn, director of corporate and foundation relations at UConn Health, director and senior development for the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, and vice president for development. As senior director of development since July 2009, he has provided oversight and mentoring to development staff in several schools and colleges. Frank earned his master's degree in economics from UConn in 1994. He holds a bachelor's degree in economics from the University of New Hampshire. He began working at the University of Connecticut in 1993 as a special assistant to the president.
Vice President for Administration, CAO
Deb Cunningham plans and oversees management of administrative operations at the UConn Foundation, including advancement services (IT, programming, research and gift management), human resources and facilities. Prior to joining the foundation in 2007, Deb was a senior consultant for SunGard Higher Education in Waltham, Mass. During her many years at SunGard Higher Education, Deb worked with a large variety of customers including Dartmouth, Harvard, Columbia, Notre Dame, University of Colorado, the California State System and many others on major system implementations, automation, staffing assessments and re-engineering of policy and process. She also previously held senior development and advancement positions at Harvard University, Harvard Graduate School of Business and the University of Vermont. Deb attended Mount Holyoke College and earned her MBA from the University of Vermont.
Associate Vice President for Development,Central Programs
Jennifer Grey leads the planned giving, annual giving, regional and corporate and foundation relations programs and helps ensure ongoing support and service to the constituent programs. Jennifer also works closely with university program directors, deans and the Office of Research to align central program activities with the university’s academic plan and priorities. Before joining the foundation, Jennifer served as vice president for development at AmeriCares, a global national disaster and humanitarian relief not-for-profit located in Stamford, Conn. Jennifer served as the foundation’s director of development for the School of Business in the late '90s and led its fundraising as the school kicked off its first comprehensive capital campaign and raised money for a new building.
Associate Vice President, External Relations
Derek Slap oversees communications, external relations, events and stewardship at the Foundation. Before arriving at the foundation in September 2014, Derek was the chief of staff for the Connecticut Senate Democratic Caucus, where he advanced initiatives on pre-K education and gun violence reduction. He lectures at Yale and Central Connecticut State Universities, leading seminars on political journalism and public policy. Derek was previously director of public information for the City of New Haven and a news anchor on WVIT-TV, an NBC affiliate. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Syracuse University and earned his MBA from the University of Connecticut.
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