Iona University Announces SVP of Advancement & External Affairs

Gary B. Grant brings over 35 years of experience to the role

New Rochelle and Bronxville, N.Y. – Iona University is proud to announce that Gary B. Grant, an industry leader with over 35 years of proven success in philanthropy and management, will serve as senior vice president of Advancement & External Affairs effective Feb. 12, 2024. 

He joins Iona from Florida Institute of Technology, where he has served as senior vice president for Advancement since May 2017. There, Grant grew unrestricted annual giving by 400 percent and overall philanthropy by nearly 50 percent. He also raised support for building three new buildings, helped grow the endowment over 60 percent and won numerous awards for innovations in fundraising from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE), the global nonprofit association dedicated to educational advancement professionals.

“We are excited to welcome Gary to support Iona’s growth and help bring our ambitious goals to fruition as we continue to elevate all aspects of the Iona experience,” said Iona President Seamus Carey, Ph.D. “From engaging Iona’s 50,000 alumni around the world to supporting student scholarships, academic programs, campus infrastructure, mentorship opportunities and more, it all comes back to strengthening the Iona mission and serving our students. Gary understands this and has a proven track record of success. We are excited for all that is still ahead for Iona.”

A native of Long Island, N.Y., Grant began his fundraising career while still a student at the University of Chicago. It would become his intellectual and professional home for 20 years.

Intent on a career in law, Grant received his Bachelor of Arts in history from Chicago in 1987. As a student, he would call alumni for gifts, and by his sophomore year, he had raised over $1 million in pledges. That success led to working full-time in advancement until he would go on to earn his Juris Doctor from Illinois Institute of Technology Chicago-Kent College of Law.

After earning his law degree, however, Grant immediately returned to the University of Chicago to serve as associate dean of the graduate school of social work from 1994-98. There, he led the school’s first successful capital campaign as part of the university’s $500 million effort. He went on to serve as senior development officer and then director of major gifts for the University of Chicago Medical Center from 1998-2003.

As director, Grant managed and expanded the major gifts program at the university’s hospitals and the division of Biological Sciences. Overall, his department raised $80 million a year, including a $21 million individual gift to build a new children's hospital. During this time, he also completed a campaign to raise $25 million for the neurosciences, including the establishment of a new research center.

Grant’s experience in education and health care comes as a benefit to Iona especially as the University continues to develop its NewYork-Presbyterian Iona School of Health Sciences and its new 28-acre campus in Bronxville, N.Y.  In addition to the new academic degrees and the state-of-the-art Kelly Center for Health Sciences, the campus is also expanding opportunities for students in the performing arts, Division I Athletics, club sports and more.

In his new role at Iona, Grant will report directly to the president and be tasked with providing extraordinary vision, strategic direction and innovative management for the Office of Advancement & External Affairs. His responsibilities will include fundraising, campaign planning and execution, communication and more. He will also maintain a strong public presence on behalf of the University, clearly articulating Iona’s mission, vision and values.

“I am honored and excited to join Iona University as it continues to build toward such a bright future,” Grant said. “Iona’s ability to grow enrollment during a time when nearly every other institution is in decline says something very powerful about the team and approach. There are so many wonderful opportunities to engage the alumni network, and I look forward to working collaboratively to help drive this deeply meaningful and transformative work.”

Over the course of his career, Grant has held leadership positions with Washington College in Chestertown, Md.; the University of North Texas Health Science Center in Fort Worth, TX; and the National Alzheimer’s Association in Chicago, Ill., among other institutions.

Prior to joining Florida Tech in 2017, Grant served as vice president for development and university relations at the University of Tampa – where he broke all previous records for two major fundraising campaigns. Leading a team of over 30 people, he boosted alumni participation, increased annual support and grew two civic leadership boards to over 280 individuals. He also developed a robust major gift pipeline and closed major gifts toward the completion of the institution’s $150 million capital campaign.

“My passion for advancement has always been twofold. First, I love working with amazing donors and alumni to make history through philanthropy. Second, I enjoy fostering a strong advancement team, building morale, developing excellence and mentoring younger professionals – and oftentimes learning from them!” Grant said. “I believe we need to ensure in our society that every generation of new graduates are both prepared for their professional careers as well as being ready to serve as global citizens for humanity. As an institutional advancement leader for several decades, I strive to hold true to that ideal in my own life.”

Founded in 1940, Iona University is a master's-granting private, Catholic, coeducational institution of learning in the tradition of the Edmund Rice Christian Brothers. Iona's 45-acre New Rochelle campus and 28-acre Bronxville campus are just 20 miles north of Midtown Manhattan. With a total enrollment of nearly 4,000 students and an alumni base of more than 50,000 around the world, Iona is a diverse community of learners and scholars dedicated to academic excellence and the values of justice, peace and service. Iona is highly accredited, offering undergraduate degrees in liberal arts, science and business administration, as well as Master of Arts, Master of Science and Master of Business Administration degrees and numerous advanced certificate programs. Iona students enjoy small class sizes, engaged professors and a wide array of academic programs across the School of Arts & Science; LaPenta School of Business; NewYork-Presbyterian Iona School of Health Sciences; and Hynes Institute for Entrepreneurship & Innovation. Iona is widely recognized in prestigious rankings, including The Princeton Review’s 2024 national list of “The Best 389 Colleges” and The Wall Street Journal/College Pulse’s “2024 Best Colleges in America,” which ranked Iona at #66 in the nation overall and #8 in the nation among Catholic schools. Iona’s LaPenta School of Business is also accredited by AACSB International, a recognition awarded to just six percent of business schools worldwide. In addition, The Princeton Review recognized Iona’s on-campus MBA program as a “Best Business School for 2023.” Iona also offers a fully online MBA program for even greater flexibility. In July 2021, Iona announced the establishment of the NewYork-Presbyterian Iona School of Health Sciences, which is now principally located on Iona’s Bronxville campus in collaboration with NewYork-Presbyterian. Connecting to its Irish heritage, the University also recently announced it is expanding abroad with a new campus in County Mayo, Ireland. A school on the rise, Iona officially changed its status from College to University on July 1, 2022, reflecting the growth of its academic programs and the prestige of an Iona education.