Principal Gifts

The Regional Program at University of Houston keeps the university in touch with its alumni and friends across America.  The Regional Program staff travels the country to share news of the university to build and maintain relationships with donors interested in giving back at the highest levels in the areas about which they are most passionate.

Our mission is to create, foster and enhance relationships with alumni and donors beyond (or living/working/residing outside of) Houston. We identify those whose personal mission and passion align with the Cougar spirit, and we work with them as they decide how they want to commit to the University of Houston’s future.  We help them stay connected to the university by demonstrating to them how their generosity makes a difference in the lives of our students, faculty and community as we prepare the next generation of leaders.

Learn more at https://giveto.uh.edu/contact/principal-gifts/

Wayne Smith

Associate Vice President, Principal Gifts

Wayne Smith joined the University of Houston in June 2014, as associate vice president for advancement in the office of principal gifts. He held advancement positions at the University of Virginia for 28 years. His positions at the University of Virginia included senior director of principal relationship development, associate dean for development of the McIntire School of Commerce Foundation, executive director of athletics capital campaign, director of regional programs and director of corporate and foundation relations for the school of medicine.

At the University of Houston, Smith oversees the principal gifts program within University Advancement, visits with constituents throughout the nation, and collaborates with University colleges/units to secure gifts at the $2.5 million level and higher.

Smith earned a bachelor of science degree in psychology from James Madison University.

(713) 743-8197 | Wlsmith3@uh.edu

Regions:

  • Texas (Austin)
  • Colorado
  • Arizona
  • Florida
  • Nevada (Las Vegas)
  • Washington, DC
  • Wyoming

Beth Harrington

Chief Development Officer, Principal Gifts

Beth Harrington joined the University of Houston in June 2013, as senior director of advancement and soon thereafter as executive director for advancement for principal gifts before becoming chief development officer for principal gifts. Harrington has more than two decades of experience in higher education and development. Prior to joining the University of Houston, she held various fundraising roles at Virginia Commonwealth University, Vanderbilt University, the University of San Diego and Rice University.

At the University of Houston, Harrington oversees the regional travel program, visits with constituents throughout the nation, and collaborates with University colleges/units to secure gifts at the $2.5 million level and higher.

She earned a bachelor of arts degree in sociology from Vanderbilt University and a master of arts in communications from Western Kentucky University.

(713) 743-8999 | ekharrington2@uh.edu

Regions:

  • Texas (Dallas)
  • Louisiana
  • California
  • Washington
  • Illinois
  • Tennessee
  • Kentucky
Olivia Thompson - Chief Principal Gifts Officer

Olivia Thompson

Chief Principal Gifts Officer, International Advancement

Olivia Thompson joined the University of Houston in March 2014, as executive director of constituent development and soon thereafter as chief development officer for major gifts before becoming chief development officer for principal gifts. Thompson has more than 17 years of experience in higher education and development. Prior to joining the University of Houston, she held various fundraising roles at The University of Texas at Austin’s College of Liberal Arts and the College of Natural Sciences, and Texas State University.

At the University of Houston, Thompson collaborates with University colleges/units to secure gifts at the $2.5 million level and higher and visits with constituents throughout the nation. She is also leading the new International Advancement program at the University which includes Mexico, Canada and London.

She earned a bachelor of arts degree in art from The Ohio State University and a masters of public administration from Texas State University.

(713) 743-8026 | onthompson@uh.edu

Regions:

  • Mexico
  • Canada
  • London
  • Texas
  • New York
  • New Jersey
  • Massachusetts
  • Pennsylvania
  • Connecticut
  • Ohio
  • Montana
Alyssa Vazquez - Development Coordinator, Principal Gifts

Alyssa Vazquez

Project Manager

Alyssa Vazquez joined the Office of Principal Gifts in August 2016, as an administrative assistant before becoming development coordinator in 2018. In her current role, she supports the Associate Vice President for Advancement as well as two chief development officers. She manages multiple projects to ensure that the overall strategy, planning and funding activities are carried out for prospects and donors at the principal gifts level ($2.5M+). She manages donor events, drafts presidential briefings, letters and correspondences, as well as participates in the preparation of fundraising proposals and gift agreements. She also serves as the liaison between University Advancement and the Office of the President, managing all calendar activities and requests from many different offices and/or areas of the University.

Prior to joining the University of Houston, Alyssa managed multiple accounts in the transportation, education and healthcare industries as an Account Executive for a Houston-based advertising agency. Before that she interned at a local non-profit organization where she provided public relations, marketing and event planning support to the development team in planning the organizations’ largest annual fundraising event.

 Alyssa earned a bachelor of arts degree in public relations and marketing from The University of Houston.

(713) 743-0228 | amacosta2@uh.edu