University Relations Units

Vice Chancellor's Office

Under the leadership of Vice Chancellor Keith Brant, the University Relations Division at the University of California, Santa Cruz, is comprised of seven leadership units, and many related activities. (Division org chart).

Alumni Engagement

Directed by Shayna Kent, Alumni Engagement develops programs, volunteer engagement and communications strategies targeted to key constituencies – alumni, parents, community and business leaders, people with shared interests (arts, research areas, etc.) – to interest, inform, cultivate and solicit long-term & on-going support of UC Santa Cruz and its mission. Areas of responsibility include the Alumni Association, Annual Fund, Special and Signature Events, Parents Program, Regional Development, and Community Relations. (Unit org chart)

Communications and Marketing

Communications and Marketing presents and interprets UC Santa Cruz, its achievements and aspirations in a consistent manner through visual, electronic and written media and verbal communications that enhance its reputation and inspire the support of core constituents. Media relations, marketing, branding and visual standards, university-wide web pages including the home page and News & Events pages, and constituent communications are among the unit’s areas of responsibility. (Unit org chart).


The Events unit includes the Special Events and Events Strategy teams (Unit org chart).

The Events Strategy team, led by Suz Howells, fosters a strategic approach to University Relations-sponsored and -supported events that are outcome-driven and audience-focused. We aid with selecting and preparing speakers, and serve as a central point of coordination for all campus event planning.

The goal of the Special Events Office, led by Kristin Palma, is to design, develop, manage and implement special events in collaboration with the University community and colleagues that highlight the outstanding work at UC Santa Cruz and to facilitate direct, personal communication with alumni, donors, corporations, friends of the University and community members. The Special Events Office supports the university's mission through the development, management and production of events that communicate and enhance UC Santa Cruz’s reputation for excellence, especially events specific to the philanthropic advancement of the university.

Government and Community Relations

Directed by Melissa Whatley, Government and Community Relations cultivates credibility and communicates with state and federal government officials to increase financial support and prevent deleterious actions and policies; and with city and county officials where UC Santa Cruz has facilities to collaborate on leveraging resources and minimizing negative impacts. (Unit org chart)


Directed by Jeff Shilling, Philanthropy oversees high level, personalized cultivation and solicitation programs to strengthen and advance principal campus initiatives.   Areas of responsibility include Major Gifts, Planned Giving, Corporate and Foundation Relations, Donor Relations and Prospect Management and Research.  (Unit org chart).

Philanthropy  Major Gifts

Directed by Jennifer Graham, the major gifts team focuses on building relationships with alumni, parents and friends who have the ability and inclination to make gifts of $25,000+. (Philanthropy – Major Gifts org chart)

University Development Programs

Directed by Howard Heevner, University Development Programs encompasses Annual Giving, Leadership Annual Giving, and development for the Arboretum and Seymour Marine Discovery Center. (Unit org chart).

Information Management

Directed by Robyn Doughty, Information Management provides the system and information infrastructure and services to support University Relations, donors, and the campus in our efforts to build and maintain relationships that result in support for the university. (Unit org chart)


Under the direction of Sandy Schmidt, UR Operations supports the University Relations Division by assisting UR units to hire, train and retain outstanding staff, advising and assisting in managing UR resources (human, financial and space/environment), and ensuring UR staff have a safe, comfortable place to work. (Unit org chart)