On this episode of the RAISE podcast, Brent breaks it down with Chris Dyba, Vice Chancellor for University Advancement at East Carolina University and President of the ECU Foundation. Chris reflects on his journey from LSU Tiger to Duke Blue Devil to Auburn War Eagle to Tulane Pelican, and finally to East Carolina Pirate.
Chris’ whole staff at ECU refer to him by his last name. So we figured we would, too. Listen to this episode with Dyba here, or catch some highlights below.
Highlights of this episode
Chris is a theologian by education. Before committing to a PhD program, he asked the Dean of the Divinity School at Duke if he could 1) pause his studies for a year, and 2) have a job. Dean Campbell said yes to both requests and introduced Dyba to the Associate Dean for External Affairs, Wes Brown.
Wes Brown told Dyba that he could have a temp job on the Duke advancement team if he showed up on Monday and wore pants. (Dyba then knew the days of wearing shorts and a baseball cap were behind him.)
Dyba reflects on buying a digital camera to capture images for Duke’s first, home-grown online giving page; recalls the days when sending out a mass solicitation by email was taboo; and remembers when cell phone numbers were reserved for closest friends.
Dyba talks about how southern public universities have super strong alumni affinity, but for the most part, they’ve been late to the the fundraising game. And this means that there’s huge opportunity for future philanthropy at the southern publics.
Dyba has worked with many donors who have been transformed by their own philanthropy. One donor wrote Dyba a handwritten note to thank him for asking her for gift (!!). Another donor invited Dyba to his home and showed him scrapbooks full of the letters he received from the student scholars he supported.
Dyba talks about how fundraisers are the orchestrators of campus-wide cultivation and stewardship of donors. As in-person travel returns, virtual meetings will play an important role in bringing the whole campus “orchestra” to our donors.
Dyba reflects on how, in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Tulane became synonymous with New Orleans. Tulane’s dedication to its city and community had a big effect on Dyba, and he’s carrying that sentiment to his role at Eastern Carolina.
Planned giving is a huge source of support for Eastern Carolina University. Many of ECU’s alums are nurses, teachers, and accountants who love ECU and give loyally every year. They may not be able to make major gifts now, but they are likely to include ECU in their estate plans. (Luckily, Dyba has the best planned giving officer ever on his team.)
More about Chris…
Christopher Dyba is a graduate of Louisiana State University and Duke University. Upon completion of graduate school, Dyba joined the development office at Duke and worked for eight years as both an annual fund reunion giving officer and a major gift officer. After Duke, Dyba worked for more than six years at Auburn University as the Director of Advancement for the College of Business managing a team and the campaign through its successful completion. A native of Louisiana, Dyba returned to aid Tulane University in its post-Hurricane Katrina efforts to reestablish its advancement office. While at Tulane, Dyba served as the Senior Associate Vice President for Development where he built development teams for ten schools and units, managed the annual fund program, and served as a principal and international gift officer.
Dyba has been the Vice Chancellor for University Advancement at East Carolina University and President of the ECU Foundation since March of 2014.