Robert J. Spiller
Senior Executives

Robert J. Spiller

Assistant Secretary for Advancement

Robert J. Spiller is the Assistant Secretary for Advancement at the Smithsonian. He oversees the Institution’s Office of Advancement, the philanthropic fundraising arm of the Smithsonian.

Previously, Spiller was the associate vice president for development and alumni relations at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. He was part of the department’s senior management team, which oversees the strategic direction of a 500-member staff that raised more than $600 million annually for the university. Spiller directly managed a staff of more than 100 at the Whiting School of Engineering, the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences and the Sheridan Libraries and University Museums as well as corporate relations and international development. He also managed the gift planning and foundation relations divisions (2012 to 2015) and human resources and talent management (2015 to 2016).

Spiller played a leadership role in the design and management of Johns Hopkins’ “Rising to the Challenge” campaign, expected to exceed its $5 billion goal. From 2005 to 2011, Spiller was the associate dean for development and alumni relations at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Engineering. He directed all fundraising and alumni relations activities for the school and led it through the university’s previous campaign, exceeding its campaign goal. Spiller began his tenure at Johns Hopkins as director of regional and international programs from 2001 to 2005.

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.

He succeeds Virginia Clark, who was the Smithsonian’s Assistant Secretary of Advancement from July 2002 until March 2017. Zully Dorr served as the Acting Assistant Secretary after Clark’s retirement.

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