|Christine Pina '91
travels 100 times a year visiting Wesleyan alumni, friends and parents to
secure gifts for the university.
Director of Major Gifts Raises Gifts for Wesleyan's Endowment
Christine Pina loves donors to give, and give big.
As the director of major gifts in University Relations, Pina oversees
solicitations of financial gifts of $50,000 and higher, and has
responsibility for both the major gifts and development research teams.
"Our teams work to raise large gifts for Wesleyan’s endowment and other
capital needs such as buildings and programs," Pina explains. "We work with
alumni, friends and parents to secure gifts that will be used to strengthen
These gifts can be given to the endowment or through the Wesleyan Fund and
support scholarship aid, academic programs, facilities and general operating
Pina corresponds with donors through e-mail and on the phone daily, and
visits about 100 people throughout the country each year. She frequently
helps donors make connections to faculty, students and programs at Wesleyan.
In addition to her normal fund-raising duties, she works to help Wesleyan
realize its goal of enhancing its science facilities with the proposed
Molecular and Life Sciences building. She hopes the ongoing project will
have a transformative effect on the southern end of campus.
"Though I am not a scientist, I recognize that the study and understanding
of these disciplines are enormously vital to our local and global
communities," she says. "I am honored to be able help ensure that future
generations of Wes grads are scientifically literate no matter what their
Pina joined the major gifts staff in September 2004 as a major gift officer.
In the spring of 2006, she was promoted to the director of major gifts. Her
“tremendously wonderful colleagues” on the major gift team include Faye Del
Pezzo, Robert Mosca and Michelle Dube. Faraneh Carnegie, currently in Alumni
Programs, and Regan Schubel, currently in the Wesleyan Fund, will join the
team this summer.
Prior to beginning a career in institutional advancement, Pina worked as a
management consultant before turning to the field of education. She spent
several years at Dartmouth College's Office of Admission and subsequently
became the associate director of admission and the director of minority
recruitment for Dartmouth in Hanover, N.H.
At the Development Office at the Madeira School in McLean, Va., Pina helped
develop the first major gift program for the all girls’ boarding-day school
in anticipation of a $60M capital campaign for building and endowment
support. After leaving Madeira she continued to live in Virginia and became
a remotely-based gift officer for the development team at St. Paul’s School
in Concord, N.H. For St. Paul’s she focused on securing major gifts for the
School’s endowment and the construction of a $25M athletic facility.
Pina earned her Ed.M in higher education administration, planning and policy
from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and a bachelor of art in
African American Studies from Wesleyan in 1991. During these undergraduate
years, Pina spent her summers on Capitol Hill doing education and health
care policy work for her then-congressman. That experience helped Pina
identify an interest in planning and policy work.
"I am really proud to be working at my alma mater," Pina says. "I think
Wesleyan is an extraordinary place and I consider it a privilege to work
here and help the university provide a distinctive and first-rate education
to its students."
Pina is active in Wesleyan’s Administrators and Faculty of Color Alliance,
and participates in various Wesleyan alumni events throughout the year.
Outside of Wesleyan, she is the senior warden of the vestry at St. James’s
Episcopal Church in West Hartford, Conn. and is a member of the Council for
Advancement and Support of Education. She also is the founding director of A
Hand Up, Inc., an organization working to move families in the greater
Hartford area from homelessness to independent living.
“Our goal is to help people in the Greater Hartford area who are
transitioning from homelessness to independence by supplying them with basic
household goods,” Pina says. “We are a volunteer organization and we work in
consort with a number of other service agencies in Hartford. We help about
60 families each year and are getting ready to expand our program, and we
are always looking for individuals and groups who would like to volunteer a
few hours to help.”
Pina grew up in West Falmouth, Mass. and is the third generation of family
hailing from Cape Cod. She currently lives in West Hartford with her
husband, Alex Smith, an "avid University of Michigan fan" whom she
constantly reminds that Wesleyan football still holds an undefeated record
against the maize and blue, and 4-year-old son, Arthur.
"Arthur often says that he wants to play baseball, hockey and
lacrosse and study race car jumping - I think that means physics - at
Wesleyan," Pina says, smiling.
Olivia Bartlett, The Wesleyan Connection