UF enlists alumnus to reach new heights in alumni engagement
Matt Hodge, a recognized advancement leader, will serve as associate vice president of alumni relations and executive director of the University of Florida Alumni Association beginning June 15.
Matt will guide programs that connect the university’s more than 425,000 alumni to their alma mater, provide senior leadership for the university’s $3 billion Go Greater campaign and other major campus alumni relations initiatives, and manage UF’s alumni relations team. UF’s alumni association is among the largest and most comprehensive in all of academia.
“As a Gator, it is a tremendous privilege and honor to represent the University of Florida by leading our alumni outreach and engagement programs,” Matt said. “I look forward to partnering with university, advancement and alumni board leadership as UF focuses on joining a small group of the very best public universities in the nation. It is truly great to be a Florida Gator.”
Matt was selected from an international pool of more than 50 candidates. He is currently senior assistant vice president of development at the University of Florida, where, during the past seven years, he has provided leadership for seven academic units and the office of Annual Giving. He has also managed a portfolio of leadership and principal gift prospects, served as a member of the Campaign Executive Committee and provided oversight of UF’s Orlando regional campaign council. He is a longtime advancement professional who previously served as senior director of development for UF’s College of Education and vice president for institutional advancement at Seminole State College of Florida.
Matt earned his bachelor’s degree in advertising with a minor in communication studies at the University of Florida in 1994. He earned a Ph.D. in public affairs at the University of Central Florida in 2006.
One of Matt’s most important immediate roles will be to rally alumni in their support of UF’s Go Greater fundraising campaign, the most ambitious in school history. The university launched the public phase in fall 2017 to continue its climb toward the top-five public universities. UF’s fourth campaign, Go Greater, is expected to conclude in fall 2022. As of June 2018, it’s about six months ahead of schedule in meeting its fundraising goal.
“Never in the University of Florida’s remarkable history have we been closer to being one of America’s best five public universities. To lift us to the top, we will need all Gators working together, hand-in-hand, to Go Greater. And we need leaders like Matt to point us on that course,” Tom Mitchell, vice president for UF Advancement, said.
Chartered in 1906, the University of Florida Alumni Association serves alumni in every state and more than 150 countries. It has a network of nearly 100 Gator Clubs in most major cities around the world, a 10,000-member student chapter and specific affinity groups that promote deeper connection with the university. Signature programs include the annual Grand Guard 50-year reunion, Gator Nation Tailgates, Outstanding Young Alumni Awards and the Gator100 celebration honoring successful alumni-led businesses.
UF Alumni Association President Karen Unger praised Matt as the right person at the right time to direct the organization.
“The Gator Nation is vibrant and passionate. Our alumni want to stay connected and be involved in the life of the university, and we have selected someone with the knowledge and enthusiasm to strengthen that bridge,” Unger said. “Matt Hodge is exactly that person. With Matt, alumni have a champion who will make being a Gator even more rewarding.”
The University of Florida, the state’s flagship university, is the U.S. News and World Report’s ninth-highest ranked public university. It serves more than 50,000 students from 50 states and 131 countries. With five professional schools and 200 research, service and education centers, bureaus and institutes on a single 2,000-acre campus, UF offers educational opportunities matched by only five universities worldwide. More than 425,000 alumni represent The Gator Nation globally. The university has a long history of established programs in international education, research and service, and is one of only 17 public, land-grant universities in the prestigious Association of American Universities. For information about the Go Greater campaign, visit www.gogreater.ufl.edu.