Executive Biographies


Joshua R. Newton
President and CEO

Joshua Newton joined the UConn Foundation as president and CEO on September 3, 2013.

Previously, as vice president at Atlanta-based Emory University since 2010, Newton was a driving force behind the successful Campaign Emory, a seven-year, $1.69 billion effort that ranks as the largest fundraising effort in university history. Nearly 150,000 donors contributed to the campaign.

Initially appointed assistant vice president for health sciences development at Emory, he was promoted to senior associate vice president for arts and sciences development in 2005. In that role, he increased giving to the arts and sciences by 247 percent, from an average of $46 million during the seven years prior to the campaign, to more than $160 million during the seven-year campaign period. 





Kevin A. Edwards
Vice President of Finance and Chief Investment Officer
Kevin, who joined the Foundation in 1997, manages the investment of assets, cash, debt compliance and deferred gift administration. He is a member of the steering committee for the Student-Managed Fund, which gives UConn business students the opportunity to manage the portfolio of a $2-million endowment from the Foundation. Kevin is a CFA charterholder and a member of the CFA Institute and the Hartford Society of Financial Analysts. Additionally, he sits on the boards of directors for the Connecticut Hedge Fund Association and the Granby Education Foundation. Previously, Kevin worked for eight years at George Weiss Associates managing accounting and reporting for domestic and international hedge fund partnerships. For four years prior, he worked in public accounting at Blum Shapiro & Co. PC, focusing on the audit of investment firms and non-profit organizations. Kevin graduated cum laude with a B.S. in accounting from the University of Connecticut.



Suzanne M. O’Conor
Suzanne 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 J.D. from the University of Connecticut School of Law, and with honors with a B.A. in economics from the College of Holy Cross.



Brian J. Otis
Vice President for Development
Brian 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. 


Frank Gifford

Frank Gifford
Associate Vice President for Development, Constituent Programs
Frank has been with the UConn Foundation since 1995, serving in a wide variety of roles, most recently as vice president for development in addition to serving as senior development director for the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences. Frank owns an impressive track record of superior fundraising experience with significant organizational and strategic planning skills. He began working at the University of Connecticut in 1993 as a special assistant to the President. At the Foundation, Frank has held positions of increasing responsibility, among them director of campaign operations for Campaign UConn, director of corporate & foundation relations at the UConn Health Center, and director of development for CLAS. As Senior Director of Development since July 2009, Frank has also provided oversight and mentorship to development staff in several Schools and Colleges. Frank earned his master’s degree in Economics from UConn’s College of Liberal Arts & Sciences in 1994. He also holds a bachelor’s degree in Economics from the University of New Hampshire.


bios-Cunningham_Deb.jpg Deb Cunningham
Vice President for Advancement Services and Annual Giving
Deb plans and oversees management of all operations within advancement services and annual giving, including the information technology, programming services, data services and research departments. Deb has 25 years of experience in higher education. Prior to joining the Foundation in 2007, she was senior counsel at SunGard Higher Education in Waltham, Mass. She also previously held senior development and advancement positions at Harvard University, Harvard Graduate School of Business and the University of Vermont. Deb earned a bachelor’s degree from Mount Holyoke College and an M.B.A. from the University of Vermont.

Bios_Jennifer_Grey.jpg Jennifer Grey
Associate Vice President for Development,Central Programs
Jennifer 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 90’s, and led its fundraising as the School kicked off its first comprehensive capital campaign and raised money for a new building.

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