SMTD Welcomes Alumnus Paul Harkins as Development & External Relations Chief

The University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance (SMTD) has named alumnus Paul Harkins (BM ’86, MM ’95, percussion performance) as its chief development & external relations officer, overseeing all fundraising and communications efforts for the school, effective January 16, 2017. He succeeds Maureen Schafer who has joined the U-M Office of University Development (OUD) as senior director of stewardship and donor relations.

Harkins joins SMTD from OUD, where he served as director of major gifts for the Mid-Atlantic States since 2005. In this role, Harkins provided leadership to an expansive region, extending from Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. to North Carolina, Nashville and Kansas City. He developed strong volunteer leadership councils in both Washington and Philadelphia, re-energized the volunteer and donor community in Nashville, and worked with individual donors having multiple interests at Michigan, helping them find the right fit for their aspirations and ​goals. Harkins also served as a regional informational base for development colleagues at U-M’s 19 schools and colleges.

A working percussionist who holds a tenured position with the Flint Symphony Orchestra, Harkins has also held primary development positions at Olivet College and Michigan State University, and worked as executive director of both the Saginaw Symphony and the Michigan Chamber Orchestra. He has been a private instructor of percussion and timpani and a freelance musician for more than 20 years.

“Paul’s accomplished development experience, familiarity with Michigan’s extended alumni and donor base, and deep knowledge and understanding of our field uniquely position him to lead our development and external relations efforts,” said Aaron Dworkin, SMTD dean. “As a fundraiser, artist, teacher, and two-time SMTD graduate, I know that Paul will bring tremendous energy and passion to his new role and we look forward to welcoming him back to his alma mater.”

“I thought I had the best role at Michigan already,” said Harkins, “but this became clear to me in the interview process: Here are a dynamic dean, faculty, staff, alumni, and donors, all committed to preparing the best future artists and scholars and ensuring that those students know how to make a living while helping to change the world for the better. I could not pass up an opportunity help move that forward. That this is my school? Well, that’s just icing on a really impressive cake.”