CADC Director of Advancement Melissa Denney to Retire

Melissa Denney Portrait

Congratulations to Melissa Denney, Director of Advancement in the College of Architecture, Design & Construction (CADC), on her retirement at the end of this month. Denney has served in CADC’s Office of Advancement for the last ten years, including the last three as director.

Denney began working in CADC 21 years ago as an administrator for Auburn’s Rural Studio. While also completing her administrative duties, Denney began raising funds from her desk and found that she enjoyed the opportunity to promote Rural Studio. She eventually became a full-time development officer and was named Director of Advancement in 2020. In her time at Auburn, she says her biggest source of pride is the relationships she has made within the college and the community. “I am proud of the lifelong friendships that I’ve made not only with my colleagues, but also with friends, supporters and alumni of the college,” she stated. “I continue to be in awe that I had such a wonderful career here at Auburn surrounded by artists, designers, big thinkers and educators. I’m inspired by Auburn people that understand the Nelson Henderson quote, ‘The true meaning of life is to plant trees under whose shade you do not expect to sit.’” She says that over her ten years in CADC, she has been pleased to see her team’s fundraising efforts come to fruition. “I take great satisfaction in observing projects happen, seeing supporters’ dreams fulfilled and watching former students become philanthropists,” she said.

In retirement, Denney is looking forward to spending more time swimming, quilting, doing advocacy work and traveling to visit her new granddaughter in Colorado. She will miss her favorite annual events like Pumpkin Carve and Rural Studio’s Pig Roast, but she knows that CADC is in good hands with the current Advancement staff. “Fundraising is a team sport and I’m excited about the robust team remaining at CADC,” she said. “Like the teams before ours, they represent the best in higher education philanthropy.”

“Melissa’s success as Director of CADC Advancement is due to her remarkable character,” stated CADC Acting Dean Karen Rogers. “She is warm, thoughtful, generous and kind and sincerely cares about her colleagues, friends, supporters and stakeholders at the CADC. She has a wicked sense of humor and a heart as big as a barn. She and the team she leads have done a job nothing short of miraculous at increasing and stewarding the CADC’s gifts and endowments. We cannot thank her enough, we wish her the best in this new chapter of her life and we will all miss her tremendously.”

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