Peggy Burns

Peggy Burns

Associate Dean for Development and Alumni Relations, Harvard Graduate School of Design

Peggy Burns is the Associate Dean for Development and Alumni Relations at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. She joyfully accepted this position in January 2020.  Prior to that she served as the Executive Director for Corporate and Foundation Development and Engagement working in the Office of the Provost at Harvard University. She joined Harvard in April of 2018.

Before moving to Harvard, Peggy served as the Senior Vice President and Chief Development Officer for Henry Ford Health System, a $6B health system that serves 2M patients across southeast Michigan. She joined Henry Ford in November of 2014. In her 3.5 years there, she doubled gift revenue by engaging donors in partnerships designed to improve the human condition. Peggy believes that a powerful narrative is key to good fundraising and with this expertise delivered two record-breaking $20M gifts to HFHS.

Prior to joining Henry Ford, Peggy spent 14 years at the University of Michigan, where she was the Assistant Dean for Advancement in the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts (LSA). In that role, she led the office of Development, Marketing, and Communications (a staff of 90). Under her leadership, LSA raised close to $1B and increased the endowment three-fold, also reaching close to $1B.

Peggy delivered some of the largest gifts in U-M history including $56M for the Helen Zell Writers’ Program, $25M for the Weiser Center for Emerging Democracies, and $15M for the Kessler Presidential Scholars Program. In addition, she raised dozens of eight-figure gifts for named centers and institutes including the Nam Center for Korean Studies, the Newnan Center of Academic Advising, The Eisenberg History Institute, and the Weinberg Institute for Cognitive Sciences.

Peggy spent 15 years with the Xerox Corporation, where she held numerous sales and marketing positions in Denver, CO, and in Hartford, CT. She was the Marketing Director for the Mountain States Region and Marketing Director for the Graphic Arts, the largest national revenue-producing segment for the company. Peggy achieved 10 President’s Club recognition awards for her sales and marketing efforts.

Peggy has served on numerous boards and currently serves on the Museum of the American Indian Board (Smithsonian), the Prison Creative Arts Project Board, University of Michigan, and the Youth Justice Fund, Ann Arbor, MI.

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