Former Lincoln Park Zoo executive to direct Alumni AssociationBy Josh Schonwald
Christine O’Neill Singer, a development veteran who served as vice president for development at the Lincoln Park Zoo and at the Art Institute of Chicago, has joined the University as Associate Vice President for Development & Alumni Relations and Executive Director of the Alumni Association.
“I am so pleased to welcome Chris to the University,” said Randy Holgate, Vice President for Development & Alumni Relations. “Her depth of professional experience working with institutions to engage new people and develop volunteer support combined with her knowledge and love of the University make her a strong choice for us.”
At the Lincoln Park Zoo, Singer was responsible for strategic marketing, membership and development. Under her direction, membership grew to the highest level in the zoo’s history. Working with the board of directors, she oversaw a successful $130 million capital campaign that concluded in March. Before joining the zoo, Singer served for 15 years at the Art Institute managing audience development, membership and philanthropy.
She is, however, no stranger to the University. She worked at the University for more than 11 years in the 1970s and early 1980s in a variety of staff positions in Development & Alumni Relations, including Executive Director of Annual Giving and Associate Director of Major Gifts in Chicago and in the New York Regional Office.
“I’m pleased and honored to be back at the University,” said Singer, who has lived in Hyde Park for more than 30 years. “Philosophically and fundamentally, the way that I’ve always approached my work in building relationships between individuals and institutions all started here at Chicago.”
Singer added that it is a particularly exciting time to take over this role at Chicago’s Alumni Association, which serves more than 135,000 alumni around the world. Last year, the University opened the Alumni House in the former McCormick Theological Seminary building at 56th Street and Woodlawn Avenue. The University also has greatly expanded its Alumni Reunion Weekend; programs, volunteer opportunities and benefits offered to alumni; and the size of the staff serving the alumni community. “Over the past 10 years,” Singer said, “the University has built real momentum in strengthening its bonds with alumni. I’m so impressed with the commitment of the Alumni Board of Governors and the dedication of the Alumni Relations staff. We are well-positioned to move forward.”
As Executive Director of the Alumni Association, Singer is excited to embark on a campaign to continue to expand the array of opportunities for alumni. “We want to continue to engage more alumni in meaningful ways.” Singer is optimistic about her task. “More and more alumni are expressing their pride in the University and their wish to be actively involved. They understand what a truly unique experience they’ve had here and how important their lifetime involvement is to the University.”
Singer is a cum laude graduate of Michigan State University and completed coursework at Chicago toward an A.M. in General Studies in the Division of the Humanities.