Zeidenstein leaving top development and alumni relations post; Dantley Warren named successor

VP in charge of successful fundraising efforts departing after 15 years at Rice

Darrow Zeidenstein, who has overseen fundraising campaigns that have brought Rice University more than $1 billion, will leave his position as vice president for development and alumni relations to accept the top fundraising post at the MD Anderson Cancer Center.

Zeidenstein will depart Rice on July 15 to become MD Anderson’s senior vice president and chief fundraising officer. Kathi Dantley Warren, Rice’s associate vice president of development, will take over for Zeidenstein effective July 1.

Darrow Zeidenstein

Darrow Zeidenstein

“It has been a true honor to be a part of the Rice community for these past 15 years and to see it grow in stature, size and impact,” Zeidenstein said.

Zeidenstein joined Rice in 2004 as associate vice president for development and assumed his current position three years later. He served as lead executive for Rice’s Centennial Celebration and Centennial Campaign, which exceeded its ambitious $1 billion goal by raising $1.1 billion for the university.

“Rice has benefitted immensely from Darrow’s 15 years of outstanding service, especially during his years of leadership of our development and alumni operations,” said Rice President David Leebron. “That leadership has brought us record levels of donations and alumni engagement. Among his accomplishments, Darrow has built an extraordinary team that will enable us to sustain our momentum.

Photo of Kathi Dantley Warren, associate vice president of development

Kathi Dantley Warren

“Twelve years ago we were fortunate to have Darrow already at Rice when his predecessor, Eric Johnson, announced his retirement,” Leebron said. “We find ourselves again in such a fortunate position with Kathi Dantley Warren. Her two years at Rice have demonstrated her strong leadership and development skills, and she has become familiar with nearly all aspects of the university. Kathi’s work has generated confidence and enthusiasm from every quarter, and I am very pleased to name Kathi as our new vice president for development and alumni relations.”

Warren’s 18 years of development experience prior to coming to Rice includes over three years as senior executive director of development at Duke University’s Duke Cancer Institute, which she led to the successful completion of a $200 million campaign, and nearly four years leading alumni affairs and development at Cornell University’s College of Engineering, where she led efforts that more than doubled annual fundraising.

Warren graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in biology from Hampton University and holds a master’s degree in cell and molecular biology and microbiology from Duke University. Originally from Alexandria, Virginia, Warren, her husband Stephen and 13-year-old son Bennett have enjoyed making their home in Texas since coming to Rice. She is an avid sports enthusiast who also enjoys cooking and painting.

“Rice is a wonderful institution and my two years here have been immensely enjoyable. Darrow has built an exceptional advancement program and been thoughtful and deliberate in preparing me for this transition,” she said. “I am honored that President Leebron has asked me to take on this leadership role at this pivotal time.”

During his time at Rice, Zeidenstein has worked with a team of development and alumni relations professionals to dramatically increase philanthropic commitments, which grew from $41 million to an estimated $170 million in the current fiscal year. He also served as lead executive for the Initiative for Students, an award-winning three-year engagement and fundraising program designed to support student success.

Zeidenstein holds a doctorate in social anthropology from the University of Texas at Austin and a bachelor’s degree in social anthropology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. As a specialist in Middle East economic development, he won a Fulbright scholarship to study in Syria and a Social Sciences Research Council postdoctoral fellowship to carry out research in Morocco. He has also held a fellowship from the National Science Foundation.

“I cannot offer enough thanks to President Leebron, University Representative Ping Sun, the Rice Board of Trustees, the professionals across the campus and, of course, the great alumni, parents and friends who’ve made my tenure here better than I ever could have imagined,” Zeidenstein said.

About Doug Miller

Doug Miller is director of news and media relations in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.