So, it’s no surprise that leading CSU’s historic $1 billion campaign as the next vice president for University Advancement is a challenge she’s ready to take on.
“I’m a very goal-oriented person,” Tobin said. “I’m at my best when I’m faced with challenging goals.”
Tobin steps into her new role July 1, replacing Brett Anderson, who has served as vice-president for University Advancement since 2009. Anderson is taking a new position as a special assistant to President Tony Frank.
Anderson, who steered CSU to the successful conclusion of the $500 million “Campaign for Colorado State University” in 2012 before launching the “State Your Purpose” campaign in 2016, set new standards for fundraising excellence. Under his leadership, CSU has enjoyed five consecutive years of record fundraising and last year brought in the largest gift in the university’s history: $53.5 million from alumnus Walter Scott, Jr. to establish the Walter Scott, Jr. College of Engineering.
Ready to lead
Tobin, who began working at CSU in 2003, has been through the fundraising ups and downs the university has experienced. Anderson said she was a natural choice to step into this position.
“A big part of any good leader’s job is to have a succession plan,” Anderson said. “We have a great team here, and I wanted to ensure that when I left it’s in good hands. Kim has been here since 2003, and has seen our evolution as a university. I feel very comfortable leaving the keys to the car to her. She is the right person to continue leading this work.”
Added CSU President Tony Frank: “Kim comes to the VP role with impeccable credentials, a deep knowledge of our advancement operation and my full trust and confidence. She is absolutely the right person to step into Brett’s shoes, and I know she will take CSU and our Advancement team to new heights.”
History of success
Tobin, born and raised in Canada, grew up loving the arts but found herself enjoying the challenge of fundraising early in her career. She established a deep understanding of the impact of philanthropy on higher education during her time at the University of Toronto some 20 years ago. Her tenure at CSU began as the director of development for the College of Natural Resources (now the Warner College), before she went on to lead development efforts for the College of Liberal Arts for eight years. That’s where her work with CSU donors blossomed.
During the Inspiring the Human Spirit Campaign, the fundraising venture that supported the construction of the University Center for the Arts, she worked on a number of gifts to name spaces in the former Fort Collins High School. Tobin helped bring in gifts that led to the creation of the William Runyan Rehearsal Hall, the Bohemian Complex and spaces in what is now the Gregory Allicar Museum of Art.
Tobin builds strong relationships on behalf of CSU. When she began in the College of Liberal Arts, she worked with the Golden family as they established the Stewart and Sheron Golden Chair of Organ and Liturgical Studies – the college’s first endowed chair. Ten years later, when Stewart died, the family asked her to speak at his funeral to share what philanthropy and CSU meant to him. And her friendship with Dave and Paula Edwards – two of CSU’s most ardent supporters – led to their donation of the Magnolia House in 2015.
“When I first started at CSU, people would shudder when you told them you worked in advancement,” Tobin said, smiling. “Now, things are completely different; there’s been a huge culture shift at CSU from people thinking support is something someone else does to ‘we want to be a part of this.’ That campus-wide change has really helped us move the needle in fundraising.”
Embracing the challenge
Tobin is pursuing her Ph.D. from CSU, and hopes to complete her work in 2018. In the meantime, the busy wife and mother of two boys is looking forward to this new challenge.
“Our team really cares about CSU, and that makes an enormous difference,” she said. “Brett has made such a significant impact on CSU, ensuring we are well poised to continue this effort. It is an honor and privilege to do this work on behalf of such a fine institution, working with such wonderful alumni and donors. It is humbling.”