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About the Division of Institutional Advancement

Founded in 1957, the Division of Institutional Advancement at RISD includes a development team of frontline fundraisers, a campaign planning and strategy team responsible for implementing programming and communications, an alumni relations team that engages alumni and families, and an advancement operations team responsible for data integrity and technology.


The Division of Institutional Advancement advances RISD’s mission by strategically fostering lifelong relationships with alumni, parents, friends and organizations to strengthen goodwill and philanthropy.


Our vision is to ensure that any person or organization who engages with RISD becomes an advocate and donor.


The RISD Strategic Plan has identified the following core community values:

  • Creative thinking and making
  • Rigorous immersion and serious practice
  • Engaged curiosity and experimentation
  • Respect and inclusion

In addition, the Division of Institutional Advancement has identified the following complementary values:

  • Agility
  • Collaboration
  • Generosity
  • Integrity
  • Intentionality

Division of Institutional Advancement Goal: Be the BEST

  • Build an organization and campaign that position philanthropy as a vital revenue stream for the college and museum
  • Create sustainable opportunities to Engage alumni, parents, friends, students, staff and donors in support of the priorities of the college and museum
  • Invest in staff, systems and processes that support a long-term performance-based high-achieving culture, essential to the Success of the institution
  • Create an IA communications organization to Tell the impact of philanthropy on the college and museum, inspiring pride and advocacy


Staff directory


O’Neil A.S. Outar | Vice President

O’Neil A.S. Outar joined RISD’s leadership team in January 2018, bringing more than 20 years of fundraising and leadership experience from some of the world’s leading public and private research universities. He began his career at Tufts University, where he served as director of the Fund for Arts, Sciences and Engineering during the University’s $609 million “Tufts Tomorrow” campaign. From there, Outar held several ascending leadership roles at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, leading the work that secured some of MIT’s largest-ever donations.

Following MIT, Outar held fundraising positions at the University of Alberta and Harvard University, where he led the $2.5 billion “Campaign for Arts and Sciences.” Most recently he served as interim vice chancellor for Institutional Advancement at the University of Pittsburgh.

Currently a special adviser to The Guyana Foundation and a board director at Project Citizenship, Outar was a trustee on the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education, a Commonwealth Study conference leader, a member of the Word Economic Forum’s Knowledge Advisory Group and an MIT Leader-to-Leader Fellow. A first-generation college student, he was born in New Amsterdam, Guyana and is named in honor of his father’s favorite Australian cricketer, Norman O’Neill.

Work with us

The Division of Institutional Advancement frequently has exciting career opportunities to join our team. Learn more about working at RISD on this website.

Get in touch


toll-free: 844 454-1877
phone: 401 454-6403
fax: 401 454-6802

Mailing address

Institutional Advancement
Rhode Island School of Design
20 Washington Place
Providence, RI 02903

Office address

123 Dyer Street, floor 4
Providence, RI 02903

Staff directory