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Robert D. Sweeney

Robert D. Sweeney

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400 Ray C. Hunt Dr.
P.O. Box 400807
Charlottesville, VA 22904-4220



Robert D. Sweeney

Robert D. SweeneyBob Sweeney has spent virtually his entire 42-year career leading colleges and universities in maximizing their fundraising and public outreach. He has represented some of the finest public and private institutions during pivotal periods in their history where they leveraged strong leadership, significant new private resources, and a compelling story to gain prominence. Every institution he has served has significantly increased its positioning in the various guides and rankings. These include SUNY Oswego, the University of Richmond, Loyola University of Maryland, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and for the past 24 years, the University of Virginia. Mr. Sweeney has spent over 30 years at the Vice President level or above.

Central to Mr. Sweeney’s philosophy of building organizations is that for a team to come together, its members must share a common goal. Inspiring people through personality is a risky, exhausting endeavor. He believes that instilling in people the belief that accomplishing something far bigger than themselves—sparking the innovation of the next generation by providing an education to deserving students or funding the creation of new knowledge that supports cutting-edge research—instills dignity and pride that motivates peak performance.

As Senior Vice President for University Advancement at U.Va., Bob Sweeney has been the architect of two of the largest campaigns in the history of public higher education. In 2000, Mr. Sweeney led a successful campaign for $1.43 billion. At the time, it was the largest amount ever raised by a public university. In 2013, U.Va. completed a $3 billion fundraising effort that, at the time of its announcement, was the largest ever attempted by a public or private university. The success of this campaign placed the University of Virginia within an elite group of institutions having completed campaigns of $3 billion or more, including Columbia, Cornell, Johns Hopkins, Michigan, NYU, Penn, Stanford, UCLA, and Yale. During his tenure at U.Va., Mr. Sweeney has orchestrated funding that exceeds $5 billion.

Bob Sweeney has served as a member of the Board of Trustees of St. Joseph Hospital (Towson, MD), his alma mater Niagara University (where he received an honorary doctorate in 1998), and several University of Virginia related foundations including the Virginia Health Foundation, the Virginia Athletics Foundation, and the University of Virginia Foundation.

Mr. Sweeney makes his home on the Grounds of the University of Virginia. He and his wife, Lili Powell, a professor at the Darden School, reside on Thomas Jefferson’s historic Lawn in Pavilion VI. He has two sons, Matthew in Beverly Hills, CA and Paul in Hilton Head, SC.