Robert J. Spiller
Assistant Secretary for Advancement
Robert J. Spiller became the Smithsonian’s Assistant Secretary for Advancement in March 2018. Spiller oversees the Office of Advancement, which is responsible for securing philanthropic support for the Smithsonian. With a staff of 220 people across the Institution, the advancement team raises more than $200 million annually contributing 40 percent of the overall Smithsonian budget.
Before this Smithsonian position, Spiller served as the associate vice president for development and alumni relations for Johns Hopkins University, where he was part of the senior management team overseeing the strategic direction of a more than 500-member staff that raised more than $600 million annually for the university. Spiller’s portfolio included oversight of the Whiting School of Engineering, the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences, the Sheridan Libraries and University Museums, corporate relations and international development. He also has managed the gift planning and foundation relations divisions and human resources and talent management.
Spiller played a leadership role in the design and management of Johns Hopkins’ “Rising to the Challenge” campaign, which concluded in June 2018 and raised over $5 billion. He was the campaign lead for undergraduate scholarship and professorship fundraising, securing multiple significant gifts in both areas.
From 2005 to 2011, Spiller was the associate dean for development and alumni relations at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Engineering where he directed all fundraising and alumni relations activities for the school. He began his tenure at Johns Hopkins as director of regional and international programs (2001–2005), where he established a central fundraising program to raise major gifts in the U.S. and abroad for the university, its school of medicine and Johns Hopkins Hospital.
From 1994 to 2001, Spiller was the senior associate director of major gifts at Yale University. Previously he was an international business analyst for Litton Industries in Washington, D.C.
Spiller received his bachelor’s degree in political science with honors from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and his master’s degree in international relations from the University of Virginia.
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