UofM’s Joanna Curtis honored as Outstanding Fundraising Executive 

Nov. 11, 2020 — University of Memphis chief advancement officer Joanna Curtis has received the Outstanding Fundraising Executive Award from the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) Memphis Chapter as part of its 2020 Crystal Awards. 

The chapter will hold a virtual professional development conference and present the Crystal Awards on Thursday in celebration of National Philanthropy Day.  

"I'm honored and grateful for this recognition from my peers," Curtis said. "In my 20 years as a fundraising professional, it's been my privilege to work with donors who care deeply about making a difference in our community. This is especially true of my years at the UofM, where our alumni and friends invest in the ongoing success of our outstanding students, faculty and programs."

Curtis has been at the UofM 13 years. She currently leads University efforts in development and alumni engagement, working to receive commitments of support from donors and volunteers.  

The UofM hit a fundraising record in 2019, reaching $44 million pledged in support of academics and athletics. In 2020, despite facing historic challenges presented by the COVID-19 public health emergency, the University has continued to secure much-needed support for the Student Emergency Fund, new scholarships through the Bruns Challenge Fund, endowed professorships and athletics programs.

“The work of Joanna and her staff has been remarkable during this challenging time,” said UofM President M. David Rudd. “Her leadership and guidance have consistently produced positive results for the University, making her one of the most valuable members within the UofM community. This award is very much deserved, and we are excited to see her exceptional work recognized.”

Curtis previously played a key role in establishing the First Scholars Program at the UofM and launching the Office of First Generation Student Success. Both efforts have helped increase graduation rates and success among first-generation students. 


Chuck Gallina | 901.678.1756 | cgallina@memphis.edu