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New VP for University Relations Named

Thursday, Jun. 17, 2010

SANTA CLARA, Calif., June 17, 2010. Santa Clara University today announced the appointment of Robert Gunsalus as vice president for University Relations. He begins his new role at Santa Clara in September 2010.

In this role, Gunsalus will lead the University’s fundraising efforts, government relations, alumni relations, and marketing and communications. Gunsalus will report directly to Santa Clara University President Michael E. Engh, S.J.

Gunsalus is currently vice president for University Advancement at Humboldt State University in Arcata, California, and executive director of the Humboldt State University Advancement Foundation with responsibility for the strategic management of the university’s development team, alumni relations, marketing and communications, government relations, the philanthropic foundation, and the KHSU public radio group.

"I am delighted to bring Robert to lead our team at Santa Clara University," said President Engh. "His experience in leadership, external relations and fundraising, and his understanding of how to orchestrate a successful campaign make him a great addition to the leadership team at Santa Clara. His appreciation of the mission and ideals of Jesuit higher education will help lead Santa Clara’s ambitious efforts to increase philanthropic support and bolster the University’s reputation as a national leader in higher education. I look forward to working closely with him to advance Santa Clara’s mission.

Gunsalus comes to Santa Clara with a wealth of experience in university relations.  In the past decade, he has worked in increasingly senior leadership positions at universities across the country.

At Humboldt State University, his direction and efforts helped facilitate record increases in the number of alumni donors, unrestricted gift income and total giving excluding bequests.  He also oversaw an ambitious marketing effort that contributed to record increases in applications and enrollments.

As associate vice president for university advancement at Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas, Gunsalus led the planning and execution of a $200 million comprehensive capital campaign while also leading a marketing effort to strengthen the University’s national profile. Gunsalus also served as executive director of development at Seattle Pacific University where he led the planning and execution of a successful capital campaign.

“This is an exciting time for Santa Clara University and I am delighted to be joining such a dynamic, leadership team,” said Gunsalus. “I look forward to helping Santa Clara secure the resources it needs to fulfill its Jesuit mission and make this remarkable institution even stronger. I am very impressed with Santa Clara’s history and with President Engh’s vision for the future. Santa Clara is a very special place.”

Gunsalus earned a Ph. D. in political science from Purdue University, with minors in higher education administration and theory, political economy, and political theory. He also earned a master’s degree in political science from North Carolina State University and a bachelor’s degree in theology from Oklahoma Wesleyan University.

A soccer player at Oklahoma Wesleyan, Gunsalus was also head coach for the university’s NCAA Division II men’s soccer team. He was also head coach of Purdue University’s men’s soccer club where he won awards for district coach of the year and regional coach of the year.

Gunsalus is married to Aejung “AJ” Chang Gunsalus who has a Ph.D. in counseling psychology.  Together they have three children, Jacobi, age 8, Josie, age 6, and Joshua, age 4.

About Santa Clara University
Santa Clara University, a comprehensive Jesuit, Catholic university located 40 miles south of San Francisco in California’s Silicon Valley, offers its more than 8,600 students rigorous undergraduate curricula in arts and sciences, business, theology, and engineering, plus master’s and law degrees and engineering Ph.D.s. Distinguished nationally by one of the highest graduation rates among all U.S. master’s universities, California’s oldest operating higher-education institution demonstrates faith-inspired values of ethics and social justice. For more information, see

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