Portrait of O’Neil Outar

O’Neil Outar

Vice President of Institutional Advancement, Rhode Island School of Design

O’Neil A.S. Outar serves as Vice President of Institutional Advancement at the Rhode Island School of Design. As a member of the President’s Cabinet, his responsibilities include fundraising, alumni and family relations, and Museum engagement. Under his leadership since 2018, opportunities for alumni and family engagement have expanded dramatically, and RISD has had the best three fundraising years in its history. O’Neil and his team have allowed RISD to make significant increases in student financial aid, including the launch of a new fellowship program for MFA students, and their efforts have led to many improvements to RISD’s Providence campus.

Prior to RISD, O’Neil was the Interim Vice Chancellor for Institutional Advancement at the University of Pittsburgh, where he prepared the organization for a comprehensive campaign. He launched a range of important initiatives at Pitt, including the Chancellor’s Global Advisory Council, the Pitt Day of Giving, and the university’s first scholarship stewardship event—all in support of the university’s highest priorities.

From 2014 –2016, O’Neil was the Senior Associate Dean and Director of Development for the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Harvard University. As the chief development officer for Harvard’s largest academic unit, he led the $3.2 billion Campaign for Arts and Sciences to its most successful year ever within the $9.6 billion Harvard Campaign. While at Harvard, he also developed new organizational structures to support priorities within and beyond the campaign, as well as new volunteer fundraising programs for Asia and California.

As the University of Alberta’s first Vice President for Advancement from 2010–2014, O’Neil successfully integrated fundraising and alumni relations to create an organization that set new records in both giving and engagement. He also helped to create and launch the Peter Lougheed Leadership College, and he launched the first Alumni Impact Study to understand the economic impact of the university on the province.

From 2001–2010, O’Neil held several development leadership roles at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Working closely with MIT’s president, deans, and volunteers, he helped secure some of MIT’s largest-ever donations in support of the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research, the MIT Energy Initiative, the $578 million Campaign for Students, and the $2.2 billion Campaign for MIT. He also led the creation of a global fundraising program, recruited and managed volunteer leaders, and developed novel funding models that provided direct investment in critical initiatives.

O’Neil’s fundraising experience began at Tufts University, where he served as Director of the Fund for Arts, Sciences and Engineering during the university’s $609 million Tufts Tomorrow campaign.

Currently a Special Adviser to The Guyana Foundation and an Advisor to Project Citizenship, O’Neil was a past member of the Board of Directors for Project Citizenship, trustee of the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education, a Commonwealth Study Conference Leader, a Ditchley Scholar, a member of the World Economic Forum’s Knowledge Advisory Group, and an MIT Leader-to-Leader Fellow.

A first-generation college graduate, O’Neil was born in New Amsterdam, Guyana, and is named in honor of his father’s favorite Australian cricketer, Norman O’Neill. He was educated in Brooklyn (N.Y.), New Hampshire, and Massachusetts, and he holds a Master of Arts in Urban and Environmental Public Policy and a Bachelor of Arts, both from Tufts University.