University of North Dakota Faculty/Staff Newsletter

Tim O’Keefe to retire as head of Alumni Association & Foundation

After 11 years as Executive Vice President and CEO of the UND Alumni Association & Foundation, Tim O’Keefe has announced he will retire on March 31, 2014.

“This chapter of my personal and professional life has been a privilege,” O’Keefe said. “I can’t imagine more rewarding work than for an organization and a mission close to my heart and so critical to the public good and future of the University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, our region and my beloved great state of North Dakota.”

O’Keefe, in partnership with UND leadership, led the University through its first major capital campaign. North Dakota Spirit | The Campaign for UND, which ends at Homecoming in October, surpassed its $300 million goal six months early. During the campaign, the number of unique donors to UND jumped from 8,000 a year to more than 13,000, and funds raised annually jumped from $8 million to $45 million.

“Our alumni and friends are special people. The branding of our campaign as ‘North Dakota Spirit’ could not have been more accurate in its representation of the accomplishments, integrity, shared passion and loyalty among our followers for our University and state,” O’Keefe said.

“The University of North Dakota has a great friend in Tim O'Keefe,” UND President Robert Kelley said. “His work as the head of the UND Alumni Association & Foundation has been exemplary, and we are the beneficiaries of that work and leadership, which includes oversight of the $300 million North Dakota Spirit Campaign. Tim’s legacy is already helping to provide an exceptional UND for the future. All of UND joins me in wishing Tim and his wife, Becky, the very best on the next exciting phase of their lives.”

A transition team made up of current and former UND Alumni Association & Foundation Board members as well as UND partners will map out the steps for finding O’Keefe’s replacement.

“Tim has been a visionary leader with an incredible list of accomplishments over his tenure, which has benefited us all,” said Al Royse, UND Foundation Chair. “But while we will certainly miss Tim and his leadership, he has positioned us very well for the future, and we look forward to continuing what he has started. A transition team has been formed, and we are in the process of finding the next great leader for this organization.”

“Tim’s leadership has been transformational for the UND Alumni Association & Foundation,” said Carolyn Becraft, UND Alumni Association Chair. “Under his tenure, the connection to alumni has been greatly strengthened and the endowment has more than tripled. You can see his vision in the Gorecki Alumni Center, the Hopper-Danley Spiritual Center, the President’s residence, and multiple projects currently in the pipeline that will continue to transform the campus.  He has built a strong organization that will continue to do great things for UND.”

During O’Keefe’s tenure, UND alumni and friends have established more than 479 new endowments ― investments that provide support for years into the future ― including 262 for student scholarships.

“We only exist for one reason, and that’s students in one form or another,” O’Keefe said. “Today’s students are tomorrow’s alumni. We have always attracted a unique quality of student to UND, and it is the students who have inspired me every day.”