Advancement VP Kim Tobin announces departure, accepts new role at Michigan State University

Kim Tobin

Vice President for University Advancement Kim Tobin.

Kim Tobin has announced her departure from Colorado State University to become Michigan State University’s next vice president of university advancement. Tobin, who currently serves as CSU’s vice president for university advancement, joined CSU in 2003.

In the 19 years since, Tobin has held multiple roles within Advancement, including director of development for both the Warner College of Natural Resources and the College of Liberal Arts, campaign director and associate vice president for development. In 2017, then-President Tony Frank named Tobin vice president, and she went on to guide the team to record success, including the completion of CSU’s State Your Purpose campaign, which exceeded its $1 billion goal nearly two years ahead of schedule, and the University’s top fundraising year, surpassing $200 million in gifts for the first time in CSU history during 2021.

“It has been an extraordinary privilege to be part of the CSU community during a time of such transformational growth and progress,” said Tobin, who earned her Ph.D. from CSU. “And it has been an honor to serve alongside an incredibly talented team of advancement professionals, faculty, staff, students and campus leaders who, in partnership with our alumni and donors, have made that transformation possible.”

Throughout Tobin’s tenure at CSU, she played an active role in strengthening the culture of philanthropy across the University. In partnership with Vice President for Research Alan Rudolph, she co-created an Advancement team dedicated to supporting transdisciplinary giving in research, and she worked with longtime partners in the colleges to enhance collaboration and funding models for their shared Advancement functions.

Farewell celebration

Join the sendoff celebration for Kim Tobin on Tuesday, March 29, from 3:30-5:30 p.m., at the Iris & Michael Smith Alumni Center. All are welcome.

A prolific fundraiser, Tobin also leaned into her considerable experience in building relationships with donors to facilitate transformational gifts to CSU and played a pivotal role in securing many that powered the University Center for the Arts. Her passion for purposeful stewardship only deepened the connection with donors such as Iris and Michael Smith, whose $13 million commitment provided scholarships in three colleges and named the Alumni Center, and Paula and Dave Edwards, whose gift of Magnolia House provided an official residence for CSU’s president for the first time in decades.

“I’ve been so fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with Kim and to see the warmth, the empathy and the deep respect with which she approaches our donors, her team and her colleagues,” said President Joyce McConnell. “She is such a thoughtful professional and also a wonderful leader. We are sad to see Kim go but excited for her and also grateful to her for the amazing things she has done for CSU over the past nearly two decades.”

Tobin’s longstanding commitment to inclusive excellence led her to initiate several changes within UA, including an expansion of the leadership team to incorporate different and underrepresented perspectives and the creation of a division-wide Inclusion Council to revise practices, policies and trainings through a lens of equity and inclusivity. In one of her first acts as vice president, Tobin launched the Women and Philanthropy program alongside Nancy Richardson, Paula Edwards and a committed group of donor volunteers in 2017. And in 2020, Tobin spearheaded a partnership with Student Affairs to create a new position to foster collaboration with campus diversity programs and inform an inclusive approach to alumni outreach.

Kim Tobin at the 1870 dinner
Kim Tobin at the CSU Presidents Gala

In her time at CSU, Tobin leaned into her considerable experience in building relationships with donors to facilitate transformational gifts. 

“I’ve always appreciated that philanthropy brings out the best in us, creating space for collaboration and big ideas,” Tobin said. “Wrapped inside the choice to give is optimism for the future, for making a difference in the lives of others. The Rams family is fortunate to have a large community of alumni and donors committed to making each tomorrow better at CSU.

“As I take this next step in my career, my heart is filled with gratitude for my time at CSU, the people who allowed me to be part of their journey, and what we have accomplished together,” she added. “No matter where I go, a part of me will always be a Ram.”

Tobin’s role at Michigan State begins May 1. McConnell has announced that senior associate vice president for University Advancement Rudy Garcia and assistant vice president of gift planning Karen Dunbar will serve as co-interim vice presidents for University Advancement upon Tobin’s departure. The President’s Office will conduct a national search for a permanent vice president in the role in the coming months.