Randa Safady is a higher education leader with 33 years of professional and volunteer service. As the chief advancement officer for The University of Texas System, Safady is considered a national expert on philanthropy and is frequently invited by associations, universities and nonprofit organizations to train others in this burgeoning field. Additionally, she works with UT’s 14 presidents and vice presidents for development and communications, providing strategic counsel on a broad spectrum of issues.
Safady developed the UT System’s Center for Enhancing Philanthropy, the first of its kind in any university system nationally. The program aims to put UT institutions at the forefront of recruiting and retaining top talent and building new programs to increase philanthropic revenue.
Safady also created and served as executive producer of State of Tomorrow—a statewide PBS series featuring the extraordinary impact of universities’ research on society. The series garnered five EMMY awards from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences’ Lone Star division and the top national media award from the American Academy of Nursing.
Safady began her career at St. Edward’s University in Austin in 1982. As director of the university’s College Assistance Migrant Program (CAMP), Safady ensured that first generation children of farmworker families had equal opportunities to degree attainment and provide new paths for their families. Safady also served as national chairman of the College Assistance Migrant Program/High School Equivalency Program (CAMP/HEP) Association.
In 1996, Safady joined UT Austin where she ultimately served as associate vice president for development before joining the UT System Administration in 2003.
Safady is involved in board service and volunteer activities. She also spends considerable time at the invitation of universities and nonprofit organizations, emceeing events honoring distinguished civic and business leaders. Safady has been the recipient of Texas State University’s College of Liberal Arts Distinguished Alumnus Award, the Austin Business Journal’s Women of Distinction Award, the UT College of Communication’s Robert Jeffrey Award for Distinguished Service, and St. Edward’s University’s Presidential Medallion.
Safady serves as the only Texan on Philanthropy 2030, a national board to advance philanthropic work as a professional career. She also chaired the Association of Public Land-Grant Universities’ Commission on Strategic Communication and Advancement and serves as chair of the governance and nominations committee of the Austin Community Foundation. She is a board member at the Headliners Club of Austin.
Safady received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Texas State University (formerly Southwest Texas State University), and a Ph. D. in Higher Education Administration from UT Austin.