The independent news organization of Duke University

Alumni and development vice president Robert Shepard to step down in June

After 23 years at Duke, Robert Shepard, vice president of alumni affairs and development, is stepping down.

Effective June 30, Shepard is retiring after leading fundraising efforts that have improved campus infrastructure and increased financial aid. Shepard initially joined Duke in 1995 as executive director of development and was later appointed vice president of alumni affairs and development in 2004. 

“He’s built and sustained relationships on campus, and with donors and friends, that transformed every part of Duke, from financial aid and faculty support, to the building boom of the past decade, to the engagement of our alumni around the world," said Duke President Vincent E. Price in a statement to Duke Today. "One of the great pleasures of my time at Duke has been the opportunity to work with Bob. His legacy of leadership will last for years to come."

Shepard has overseen strategic planning and operations for the offices of Alumni Affairs, University Development and Strategic Planning. He led the Duke Forward fundraising campaign, which concluded last year after raising more than $3.85 billion for the University. The campaign was dedicated to providing resources to help Duke remain innovative in leadership, research and patient care. 

Shortly after Shepard began working at Duke, he played a leading role in the fundraising campaign which raised $2.36 billion and was, at the time, the fifth largest fundraising campaign in the history of American higher education. In addition, Shepard supervised Duke’s Financial Aid Initiative, which raised more than $308 million for financial aid. 

Under his leadership, the Duke Alumni Association also expanded and is currently constructing the University’s first Alumni Center on Chapel Drive.

Sheppard told Duke Today that he believes now is the right time to retire so Price can bring in a new development chief to plan a future campaign. The search for Shepard's successor—headed by Richard Riddell, senior vice president and university secretary—will begin immediately.