Published: Jan. 17, 2023
Ann Scott and Chancellor DiStefano

Ann Miller Scott’s career can be characterized by her limitless support for education and her alma mater, the University of Colorado Boulder. Her devotion to CU Boulder was recognized with an Alumni Recognition Award as part of the 2022 Annual Alumni Awards, one of CU Boulder's longest-standing traditions.

The Alumni Recognition Award honors alumni who have “demonstrated extraordinary leadership, commitment, dedication and service to the advancement of the university and its mission.”

After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in sociology and teacher licensure from the School of Education in 1971, Scott began her career as teacher for Baltimore City Public Schools before transitioning to a 35-year career in higher education. She returned to CU Boulder in 1977 and worked her way up from data entry operator to the director of registrations, also known as the registrar, responsible for registering 20,000 students each semester. The role launched progressive leadership positions in university advancement, including Assistant Dean, Senior Director in Engineering and Biofrontiers, Director of Reunion Giving at Leeds Business School, and Systemwide Regional Director for West Coast.

Scott’s career came full circle in 2017, when she took on the Assistant Dean for Advancement position for the School of Education, the home of her teacher certificate many years earlier. 

At the School of Education, she increased planned giving by more than two-fold, and she was instrumental in securing the largest gift in the school’s history for its building initiative. Scott was instrumental in enhancing and expanding both of the school’s development boards, the Development Advisory Board and the WISE Board (Women Investing in the School of Education). These groups grew in membership and engagement under her leadership, and the boards, their bylaws, the members’ responsibilities, and structures are forever strengthened by her strategic planning, her attention to details, and her ability to listen to members’ desires for increased engagement.

As a fundraiser, Scott has raised millions in current and planned giving for the university at large, and her leadership skills shine on in the countless individuals she has mentored along the way. Some of her colleagues and mentees have chosen to carve out a career in advancement for CU after working with her. Her unique blend of humility, authenticity, and tenacity provides fertile ground for junior fundraisers to see themselves as advancement professionals. 

Scott brings her passion for education and CU athletics into her work with donors and mentees, which helps individuals connect the dots between their own passions and support for the university.

As one mentee explained: “Ann Scott is always someone I can count on to tell it to me straight and be part of the solution. It is her passion, humor, and genuine love for CU and the Buffs that has inspired many to give generously to this university and helped me grow as a fundraiser,” said Carolyn Gleason, now Leeds School of Business Assistant Dean for Advancement. “Ann’s impact on CU Boulder is hard to quantify, and it can’t be overestimated.”

Even the dean of the School of Education counts Scott as a mentor when it comes to fundraising. Dean Kathy Schultz had been dean of a prestigious school of education before coming to CU Boulder, but development work was an increasingly important part of her role. Scott walked her through it, and the school had some of its most successful fundraising years under their joint leadership, including the launch of a capital campaign and growth in scholarships and donor engagement. 

“Ann has been in the School of Education since my first few months as dean, guiding me as I met our key donors and learned how to be a fundraiser at CU,” said Dean Schultz. “I am filled with gratitude for all that Ann has given to our school, and of course, to CU. She is wise and funny, and a genuine person who both listens closely and speaks her mind gently and with conviction.”