In 2009 Bob Groves became MSU’s first vice president for University Advancement, which combines the operations of University Development and the MSU Alumni Association to engage nearly one million Spartan alumni, parents, friends, boosters and patrons across the globe to support the world’s pioneer and premier land-grant university.
Since his arrival at MSU, Bob has focused his efforts to guide the university’s Empower Extraordinary campaign, which seeks to raise $1.5 billion to support students, faculty, research and community.
Bob has a rich background in higher education, including a valuable understanding of the Big Ten and the land-grant philosophy. He has served at several other institutions, including at the University of Michigan, the University of Minnesota Medical Foundation, Pennsylvania State University and The Ohio State University, his alma mater.
The associate vice president for University Development oversees the development unit that coordinates and supports all fundraising activities across campus. MSU is a decentralized development organization with strong centralized services and a broad group of constituent development programs. The unit fosters strong accountability and collaborative partnership among fundraising professionals located within 26 units across campus (17 academic and 9 non-degree granting programs).
Nearly all college and unit based development staff are physically located in their respective college or unit, but are administratively housed in University Development. Positions are jointly funded by University Development and the respective unit.
The associate vice president for alumni relations serves as the chief alumni relations officer for Michigan State University and has direct oversight for the MSU Alumni Association. The Alumni Association works to improve the quality of life for more than 500,000 Spartans around the globe by being the common thread that links them to one another, and to their university. Reporting to the vice president of University Advancement, the associate vice president for alumni relations also concurrently holds the title of the executive director of the MSU Alumni Association and serves as a senior member of the University Advancement leadership team.
Bob Thomas joined the University Development team at Michigan State University in 1998 as the director of marketing and communications.
For the past 20 years, Bob has served as a member of the University Development and now the University Advancement executive leadership team. In his current role as assistant vice president for advancement marketing & communications, he has direct supervision of all aspects of communications & marketing, annual giving, stewardship, web services and event team activities in the University Advancement central office.
Bob received his BA in 1984 and MBA in 1986 from MSU’s Eli Broad College of Business. Prior to arriving at MSU, he spent twelve years at General Motors where he held a variety of positions including advertising manager, assistant brand and market line manager.