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Harvard Administrator Armin Afsahi Appointed VP for Alumni Relations and Development at UChicago

Armin Afsahi serves as associate vice president of alumni affairs and development for Harvard and dean of development for the Faculty of Arts and Sciences
Armin Afsahi serves as associate vice president of alumni affairs and development for Harvard and dean of development for the Faculty of Arts and Sciences By Courtesy of Armin Afsahi
By Rahem D. Hamid and Elias J. Schisgall, Crimson Staff Writers

Harvard administrator Armin Afsahi will be joining the University of Chicago, where he will serve as vice president for alumni relations and development, UChicago announced Tuesday.

Currently, Afsahi serves as associate vice president of alumni affairs and development for Harvard and dean of development for the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. Afsahi, who came to Harvard in 2019 from the University of Denver, has previously held similar roles at Georgetown University and the University of California San Diego.

In a Tuesday message to UChicago affiliates, UChicago President A. Paul Alivisatos wrote Afsahi has a “robust track record of inspiring fundraising teams to realize transformational gifts and ambitious campaigns.”

“With the aim of advancing the University’s mission, Armin will collaborate with colleagues to encourage the intellectual, social, professional, and philanthropic engagement of all members of the campus community,” Alivisatos wrote.

“I am confident that Armin’s leadership will help to ensure the University’s continued success,” he added.

In the UChicago press release, Afsahi said he looked forward to furthering “the distinctive role of UChicago in the national and global higher education ecosystem.”

During Afsahi’s tenure, the FAS saw higher-than-expected budget surpluses coming out of the Covid-19 pandemic, defying projections of substantial deficits. Current-use gifts to the FAS rose from $108 million in fiscal year 2020 to $130 million in 2021, before falling to $122 million in fiscal year 2022.

In an emailed statement, Afsahi wrote that serving under FAS Dean and University President-elect Claudine Gay was a “true honor and privilege.”

“Her values, principles and compassion have shaped an exhilarating development and global engagement agenda through which our team has been able to generate significant philanthropic resources,” Afsahi wrote.

In a joint email to FAS affiliates Tuesday, Gay and Vice President for Alumni Affairs and Development Brian K. Lee commended Afsahi for his tenure at Harvard.

“With a deep commitment to engagement and inclusion, Armin has thoughtfully expanded the FAS donor and volunteer community globally, connecting with people of all ages and from all walks of life,” they wrote.

In their message, Gay and Lee wrote they would “soon announce details to support this leadership transition, as well as plans to launch a national search for Armin’s successor.”

Afsahi’s departure comes as Harvard deals with turnover in several top administrative roles, including a new president and four new academic deans. The announcement was made the same day that Gay officially launched the search for her successor as FAS dean and a week after she launched the search for a dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.

Afsahi will take up his post at UChicago on April 1.

—Staff writer Rahem D. Hamid can be reached at rahem.hamid@thecrimson.com.

—Staff writer Elias J. Schisgall can be reached at elias.schisgall@thecrimson.com. Follow him on Twitter @eschisgall.

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