As senior vice chancellor for philanthropic and alumni engagement, Kris Davitt directs fundraising and cultivates relationships with alumni, parents, friends and other constituents on behalf of the University of Pittsburgh and its clinical partner UPMC. In this role, she oversees a staff of more than 270 and leads efforts to connect with Pitt’s more than 350,000 alumni worldwide.
Soon after her arrival in 2017, Davitt led an extensive restructuring of the fundraising and outreach enterprise to better align its work with the institutions’ priorities. This has resulted in more robust and effective engagement with graduates through the Pitt Alumni Association, a less siloed and more collaborative work environment, and an almost 70% increase in the five-year average of new gifts and commitments over the five years that preceded the reorganization.
Under Davitt’s leadership, the Division of Philanthropic and Alumni Engagement has secured transformational gifts that led to the naming of the David C. Frederick Honors College and the Chris Bickell ’97 Head Football Coach. The division also facilitated a $100 million gift from the Richard King Mellon Foundation in support of the Pitt BioForge biomanufacturing facility, marking the largest single-project gift in the foundation’s history and one of the largest that Pitt has ever received.
Davitt’s career in fundraising spans more than 30 years. Prior to joining Pitt, she served as associate vice president for development for undergraduate programs at the University of Pennsylvania and vice president for development at Brown University. At both institutions, she held leadership roles in multibillion-dollar fundraising campaigns.
Before working in higher education, Davitt held positions at several human service nonprofits in Philadelphia. She earned a Bachelor of Arts, graduating magna cum laude, with a concentration in international relations at Brown University. She also holds a Master of Arts in nonprofit and human services management from Rider University.