Mary Ruth Carleton, CFRE

Of Counsel

Mary Ruth joined Marts&Lundy as Of Counsel in 2019, bringing to the firm more than 25 years of advancement experience in higher education and health care. Her client portfolio includes work with higher education, arts and culture and conservation entities. She has served in interim positions with several clients.

Over the last 12 years, Mary Ruth served at San Diego State University (SDSU) as Vice President of University Relations and Development, and as President and CEO of the Campanile Foundation. At SDSU, she planned and led the University’s first-ever comprehensive campaign. With a goal of $500 million, The Campaign for SDSU ultimately reached $815 million in 2017 and is the largest campaign to date in the California State University system. For three years running, SDSU has been recognized as one of the top fundraising institutions in the country and has been acknowledged by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) for excellence in its fundraising campaign. In addition to fundraising, Mary Ruth led SDSU’s government and community relations efforts, marketing and communications, public affairs, and alumni relations. 

Prior to joining San Diego State, Mary Ruth was Senior Associate Vice President for Development for the University of San Francisco where she built the major gift program for the University’s successful $175 million campaign. She also worked as a Vice President for Development for Scripps Foundation in La Jolla, California. Mary Ruth’s early career includes 17 years as a TV news anchor and reporter, during which she worked for major broadcast networks and traveled extensively overseas, receiving an Emmy for her reporting work in Los Angeles.


San Diego, California


  • University of California, Berkeley, B.A., M.J.

Résumé & Email