Florida State University, University of Central Florida tap new administrative leaders

by | Jul 29, 2022

  • Florida State University and the University of Central Florida both announced new administrative additions, adding Marla Vickers and Rodney Grabowski, respectively 
  • Vickers will serve as FSU’s new vice president for University Advancement while Grabowski is brought on as UCF’s new Senior Vice President of Advancement and Partnerships 
  • The hirings come after separate vetting processes conducted by university search committees 

Just weeks ahead of the start of the new academic school year, Florida State University (FSU) and the University of Central Florida announced new hires for administrative positions. Marla Vickers has been selected as FSU’s next Vice President for University Advancement, also taking on the role of President of the FSU Foundation, while Rodney Grabowski is UCF’s new Senior Vice President of Advancement and Partnerships.

Vickers, a graduate of Florida State University, is a skilled development professional with more than 20 years of experience in higher education at some of the top universities in the nation. Currently, Vickers works at Emory University in Atlanta as associate vice president of advancement in the division of advancement & alumni engagement. According to FSU, she has contributed to five multibillion-dollar campaigns.

In her new role, Vickers will lead Florida State’s fundraising, alumni relations, advancement services and real estate giving and will work closely with the Seminole Boosters while laying the groundwork for FSU’s next comprehensive campaign.

Prior to Emory, Vickers held development positions at Yale University, The University of Chicago, George Washington University, Duke University, and Georgetown University.

“I am so pleased to welcome Marla Vickers back home to Florida State University,” said President Richard McCullough. “She is a proven leader with a track record of success as a fundraiser and manager. Her energy, enthusiasm, and experience will be a tremendous asset in facilitating more collaboration and alignment among all of FSU’s direct support organizations and helping the university achieve its ambitious fundraising goals.”

Grabowski has more than three decades of expertise in the charity and advancement sectors, including a wealth of knowledge about the state university system of Florida and philanthropy in the medical field. Under his direction, the University at Buffalo exceeded its $650 million objective a full year early and has raised $879.2 million toward an additional goal of $1 billion. This endeavor was made possible by the university’s two consecutive record-setting years. He is a pioneer in the use of data-driven strategy, artificial intelligence, and creative management techniques.

“[Grabowski] has an incredible track record of success in fundraising, university advancement, and in fostering the connections and relationships necessary to fuel the success of a 21st-century university,” UCF President Alexander N. Cartwright says. “Our new strategic plan is clear that we must find new sources of philanthropy and develop new partnerships to fuel our efforts to unleash the potential of our students, faculty, and community and tell the story of UCF more broadly. I am grateful Rod has chosen to come to UCF and lead this effort on our team.”

In his role at UCF, Grabowski will report to the president and serve as a key member of the president’s cabinet.

At the University of Cincinnati, where he previously held the positions of president of the UC Foundation, vice president of institutional advancement, and president and chief executive officer of the UC Health Foundation, Grabowski achieved notable success. In his role, he led the $1 billion “Proudly Cincinnati” campaign successfully, exceeding the target by 10 percent, also overseeing the university’s $600 million fundraising effort while serving as senior associate vice president for development and campaign director at the University of South Florida in Florida.


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