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Robert E. Wright, A.B.’77, Ph.D.’86

Associate Dean for Development and Alumni Relations


Development and Alumni Relations


Robert was recruited to establish the development office for the Terry Sanford Institute of Public Policy in February 2006, with principal responsibilities to secure the endowment and operating funds requisite to the Institute becoming a school. As the Associate Dean of Development & Alumni Relations, he continues to develop fundraising, alumni relations, and other programs and infrastructure related to institutional advancement that will ensure the school’s excellence and sustainability.  Working at Sanford is in many ways a return home for Robert, who began his career writing for Joel Fleishman and serving as Associate Director of Duke University’s $200 million Capital Campaign for the Arts & Sciences and Engineering (1986-91).

Until the fall of 2003, Robert was Vice President for Institutional Planning & Development at the National Humanities Center in Research Triangle Park.  His responsibilities there comprised all institutional advancement activities, including strategic planning, board development, communications and external relations, fundraising, and information technology. 

Robert is an alumnus of Duke, having earned his A.B. in English (1977) and Ph.D. in English and medieval studies (1986).  He also holds a degree in historical linguistics from Indiana University (A.M. 1978). 

An active member of the Episcopal Church, Robert has held several volunteer leadership roles, including the Board of Trustees of The General Theological Seminary in New York City, the Board of Directors of the Association of Episcopal Colleges, and Treasurer of the Diocese of North Carolina.  Robert and his partner, Lee Thomas, make their home in Chapel Hill.