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Randa Safady is a higher education leader with almost 40 years of service in academic and health development and advancement services, communications, media relations and issues management, and marketing/branding.
As the UT System’s Vice Chancellor for External Relations, Advancement Services and Communications, Safady serves as a member of the Chancellor’s executive officer leadership team.
In her role as Chief Advancement Officer for The University of Texas System, Safady oversees fundraising administration and strategy, and she works with UT institutions and philanthropists on principal gift negotiations, namings, capital campaigns and endowment administration and compliance. She consults with UT Presidents and advises the Chancellor and Board of Regents on large gift acceptance reviews and policies.
UT institutions realize more than $1.5 billion in gifts and pledges annually, thanks to the generosity of more than 700,000 philanthropists and hard work of university development professionals. Today, the UT System Board of Regents and UT-affiliated foundations hold more than 16,400 endowments on behalf of UT institutions, with a market value of $13.5 billion.
Safady developed the UT System’s Advancement Academy, the first of its kind in any public university system nationally to offer an ongoing curriculum of continuing education and training opportunities to UT’s 1200+ advancement professionals, and she launched an Systemwide student internship program to help build a pipeline of UT graduates entering the world of development and nonprofit service.
Additionally, Safady serves as the System’s Chief Communications Officer and oversees functions and strategies in media relations, issues management, and marketing/branding for the UT System Administration. She works with university presidents and vice presidents for communications, providing strategic counsel on a broad spectrum of campus-related issues.
Safady created and served as executive producer of State of Tomorrow—a statewide PBS series featuring the extraordinary impact of universities’ research on society. The series garnered five EMMY awards from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences’ Lone Star division and the top national media award from the American Academy of Nursing.
Safady began her career at St. Edward’s University in Austin in 1982. As director of the university’s College Assistance Migrant Program (CAMP), Safady worked to ensure that first generation children of farmworker families had equal opportunities to degree attainment and provide new paths for their families. Safady also served as national chairman of the College Assistance Migrant Program/High School Equivalency Program (CAMP/HEP) Association.
In 1996, Safady joined UT Austin where she ultimately served as associate vice president for development before joining the UT System Administration in 2003.
Safady is involved in board service and volunteer activities. She also spends considerable time at the invitation of universities and nonprofit organizations, emceeing events honoring distinguished civic and business leaders. Safady has been the recipient of Texas State University’s College of Liberal Arts Distinguished Alumnus Award, the Austin Business Journal’s Women of Distinction Award, the UT College of Communication’s Robert Jeffrey Award for Distinguished Service, and St. Edward’s University’s Presidential Medallion.
Safady served on Philanthropy 2030, a national task force to advance philanthropic work as a professional career. She also chaired the Association of Public Land-Grant Universities’ Commission on Strategic Communication and Advancement.
Safady is Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Austin Community Foundation. She is president-elect of the Headliners Club of Austin, a board member at the Austin Crime Commission, the Music Treatment Foundation, and UT Austin’s LBJ School RGK Center for Philanthropy and Community Service.
Safady received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Texas State University (formerly Southwest Texas State University), and a PhD in Higher Education Administration from UT Austin.