Robert D. Sweeney
Bob has spent his entire career leading colleges and universities in maximizing their fundraising and public outreach. He has represented some of America’s important public and private institutions during pivotal periods in their history. He leverages vision, strong leadership and generating significant private resources into a narrative for increasing prominence. Among those served are the University of Virginia, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the University of Richmond and Loyola University. He served at the vice president level for 33 years.
As UVA’s Senior Vice President for University Advancement, Bob was the architect of two of the largest campaigns in the history of public higher education. In 2000, he led a remarkable team to a $1.43 billion campaign success. At the time, it was the largest amount ever raised by a public university. In 2013, his team completed a $3 billion fundraising effort that placed the University of Virginia within an elite group of institutions having completed campaigns of $3 billion or more. During his tenure at UVA, Bob orchestrated funding exceeding $5 billion.
He is a recipient of The Thomas Jefferson Award, the University of Virginia’s highest honor for life-time service to the University and, upon retirement, was named as the University’s first Senior Vice President for Advancement, Emeritus. He is also the recipient of the Outstanding Service Award from the Serpentine Society for his commitment to creating a more positive and welcoming environment for the LGBT community at UVA.
On June 30, 2016, Bob retired after 25 years as Senior Vice President. He served an additional year as Senior Philanthropic Advisor to President Theresa Sullivan, culminating when she announced her retirement.
Bob serves on the Board of Directors of the Charlottesville Area Community Foundation and The Better Angels Society, the philanthropic arm for documentarian Ken Burns. His past service includes the Boards of Trustees of St. Joseph Hospital (Towson, MD), his alma mater Niagara University (where he received an honorary doctorate in 2006), and several University of Virginia related foundations including the Virginia Health Foundation, the Virginia Athletics Foundation, and the University of Virginia Foundation. He is a member of Alpha Sigma Nu, the Jesuit Honor Society recognizing his contributions to Jesuit education while leading Loyola University in Maryland.
For 10 years, until his retirement, Bob was awarded a home on the Grounds of the University of Virginia, residing in Pavilion VI of Thomas Jefferson’s Academical Village, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Bob is married to Lili Powell a professor with appointments in the Darden School of Business and the UVA School of Nursing. Earning a Ph.D. from Northwestern University, Professor Powell holds the Maria Kluge Endowed Chair in Compassionate Care.
- Niagara University, B.A., Honorary Doctorate