Society leadership changes
Delaware Diamonds Society to develop new programs
8:12 a.m., March 4, 2014--The University of Delaware’s leadership annual giving society in the Office of Development and Alumni Relations is under new management. Following a recent promotion to senior associate director of leadership annual giving, David R. Morris is now responsible for the day-to-day administration of the Delaware Diamonds Society, UD’s premier annual giving society, which honors donors who support the University with cumulative gifts of $1,000 or more per year.
Morris, a UD employee of nearly eight years, assumes oversight of the Society from Senior Director of Annual Giving Robin N. Wray, a member of the Class of 1980 who has supported the Society’s efforts since 2009.
Inside a superstorm
The promotion of Morris to this newly-created position epitomizes the University’s continued commitment to Society members and to all UD donors. A Delaware Diamonds Society member himself, Morris previously worked under Wray as the senior associate director of marketing and operations in the University’s Office of Annual Giving.
Two years ago, Morris played a crucial role in revamping the Delaware Diamonds Society program, which had remained unchanged for nearly two decades. Morris has also worked closely with the volunteer chair of the Delaware Diamonds Society, E. Thomas Harvey III, of the Class of 1975, to increase Society membership.
In his new role, Morris plans to offer Society members increased opportunities for engagement in the UD community, as well as the chance to truly witness the impact of their generosity and support.
Morris says he believes that part of his role is to offer this kind of “concierge-type” service to Society members, being accessible and open to ideas that will enhance their experience. In doing so, he hopes to achieve his specific goal to grow the Society from 3,665 to 4,000 members this year.
Gifts from Delaware Diamonds Society members form a vital foundation of support at UD, helping to fund approximately 665 different areas across campus including: student scholarships; academic departments; athletic programs; research initiatives; student groups and many others. Increasing Society membership would mean increasing the Society’s related impact on the University.
“Last year, Delaware Diamonds Society members contributed a combined $14 million to the University,” says Morris. “Results like that are indicative of the kind of significant and lasting effects that Society members can have on initiatives across our campus.”
Wray says she sees the personnel shift as a positive one.
“Dave Morris is the perfect person to be at the helm of the Society,” says Wray, who remains at UD, but whose role is shifting to other responsibilities. “His conscientious concern for every aspect of our members’ experience is awesome. He advocates for members, he is their champion. Dave’s work with Society Chair Thom Harvey will take the program to the next level, as exemplified in this spring’s Chairman’s Campaign to onboard 150 new members. I can’t wait to see the impact members will have at UD with Dave and Thom leading the charge.”
As a part of his new position, Morris will also oversee this year’s "Rising to the Challenge" Faculty and Staff Campaign, which launches in March. Last year, 31 percent of UD’s 4,100 faculty and staff members participated in the fundraising initiative, raising $1.75 million. The number of participants is a significant increase from a few years ago, when participation was 9 percent.
Morris received his bachelor’s degree in business administration and marketing from Millersville (Pa.) University. Currently, he is a graduate student in the Alfred Lerner College of Business and Economics’ online MBA program.
About the Delaware Diamonds Society
The Delaware Diamonds Society was created in 1974 to honor the University’s annual fund donors. Now celebrating its 40th anniversary, the Society recognizes donors who contribute an annual cumulative amount of $1,000 or more to any University designation.
In recognition of their commitment to UD, members receive exclusive privileges such as invitations to events, opportunities for engagement and discounts at local establishments.
Article by Danielle Brody
Photo by Kathy F. Atkinson