Photograph by Gordon Schmidt
He was always an alum first

After a decade leading UR’s alumni engagement efforts, Tom Gutenberger, B’87, is back to tailgating with the rest of us.

For Tom Gutenberger, B’87, tailgating before Spider football games this season will be different than it has been in recent years. For one, he’ll trade his jacket and tie for a T-shirt, sweatshirt, or whatever else he wants. For the first time in years, he’ll be off the clock.

After 10 years as UR’s chief of fundraising and alumni outreach, Gutenberger is stepping down from his position of vice president for advancement, which he’s held since July 2008.

“For me, it was the pinnacle of my career to come back and work at my alma mater,” he said. “I thought I’d be here a long time. In higher ed fundraising, 10 years is a really long time. I knew that after working at my alma mater, another higher ed institution wouldn’t have been as satisfying.”

He leaves for the top fundraising position at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.

“I look at them like I looked at UR when I came: a sophisticated place that could do better fundraising-wise,” he said. “It has a great story but an opportunity to grow.”

It was the pinnacle of my career to come back and work at my alma mater.

Growth has been constant for UR’s development and alumni relations efforts under Gutenberger’s leadership. During his tenure, UR combined its career services and alumni relations offices and doubled alumni attendance at Reunion Weekend and regional events. On the fundraising side, UR exceeded a $150 million campaign goal, launched the Richmond Guarantee, which funds summer internship and research opportunities for all students, and funded the construction of the Queally Center for Admission and Career Services.

“Everything I did here, I tried to look at the long term and develop pride among alums,” he said. “When people are proud, they get involved and talk about the place. Then everything else falls into place.”