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New development and alumni relations staff excited by opportunities

Monday, 8 January 2018 1:08pm


The University of Otago has appointed Shelagh Murray, a highly experienced facilitator of non-profit fundraising, as Director of its Development and Alumni Relations Office.

Shelagh (above) says she is delighted to be joining Otago and leading its development and alumni relations team.

“I am looking forward to working at such an outstanding institution and doing my part to build on its existing culture of philanthropy and alumni engagement."

She has amassed extensive experience in developing and implementing successful fundraising and alumni relations strategies as Head of Alumni and Development at the University of Canterbury (for nine years) and in her subsequent five-year role as Executive Director of Development and the Foundation at Victoria University of Wellington.

Since 2015 Shelagh has been a senior consultant at Australasian fundraising consultancy AskRIGHT, which works with non-profit organisations, including many schools and universities in Australia and New Zealand, to optimise their fundraising and donor engagement programmes.

"As the University’s 150th Anniversary approaches, I am keen to engage with its strong alumni network in New Zealand and around the world, and to increase support for the many wonderful projects that make a real difference to students, research and the University as a whole. I welcome the opportunity to use my skills and experience at Otago,” she says.

Otago Deputy Vice-Chancellor (External Engagement) Professor Helen Nicholson says that Ms Murray was selected for the Director’s role following an extensive international search.

“It is wonderful that the University has been able to appoint a person of Shelagh’s calibre to this important position. I look forward to working closely with her to advance Otago’s work in the key areas of Development and Alumni Relations.

"Among her duties will be developing and implementing strategies to foster long-term mutually beneficial relationships between the University and its graduates, corporations, foundations and the broader community.

“At Otago, we are striving to nurture our relationships with alumni and all others who have a special relationship with the University, or are interested in supporting the outstanding activities of our staff and students.”

Professor Nicholson noted that to further this mission, attracting philanthropic backing to enhance the University’s long tradition of teaching and research excellence will be a key task for Ms Murray.

“Shelagh has a fine track record in this regard, having successfully raised substantial funding to support a variety of important initiatives at the universities where she has worked.

"The University is confident Shelagh will be able to hit the ground running in her work to build new relationships, and foster current ones, to achieve our aim of contributing to the national and international good."

Shelagh will take up in her role at Otago in February 2018.


Donnella Aitken-Ferguson - Alumni Engagement Manager

After a decade as the Division of Health Sciences' marketing communications manager, Donnella Aitken-Ferguson (above) was recently appointed as the Development and Alumni Relations Office's alumni engagement manager.

Donnella says she is excited at the opportunity to work with Otago alumni and supporters, and looks forward to connecting with many of you in 2018, either in person at national and international events or at any time throughout the year.

Click here to contact the Development and Alumni Relations Office