Published: Nov. 2, 2020

Vice Chancellor for Advancement Deb Coffin is announcing her retirement, effective on Feb. 1, 2021. Coffin has served the University of Colorado Boulder community in a variety of capacities, most recently taking over and modernizing the campus advancement operation and achieving significant gains in the performance of CU Boulder fundraising efforts during her tenure.

Deb Coffin

Coffin’s career in higher education spans 39 years, including 19 years at CU Boulder. A member of the chancellor’s leadership team for the past nine years, Coffin has an extensive knowledge of the inner workings of the university and strong partnerships across colleges, schools, institutes and administrative units. Through her work as the vice chancellor of advancement and the vice chancellor of student affairs, she has worked closely with students, parents, faculty and staff to advance the university mission.  

“I want to express deep appreciation to the incredibly dedicated staff on the frontlines of serving and supporting our students in Housing and Dining Services and throughout Student Affairs,” said Coffin. “You have truly impacted my life and leadership. Thank you.” 

During her tenure in Student Affairs, and in partnership with the Campus Programs/Parent Giving office, support to the parent fund quadrupled in just four years. Her work also helped increase parent donor engagement across the university. 

During her time as vice chancellor for advancement, Coffin and the advancement team have collaborated with campus and academic leaders to build and promote the reputation of the university and expand resources and engagement in support of the university’s priorities. Under Coffin’s leadership, fundraising and engagement results have achieved record levels.  

“I can’t adequately share my deep gratitude to Deb for her many contributions to our university during her 19 years of service to CU Boulder,” said CU Boulder Chancellor Philip DiStefano. “In particular, she has done great work building our advancement team into the robust alumni relations and fundraising operation we now have. Deb has played a central role on my leadership team, is a true Forever Buff and will be sorely missed.”

Coffin has spent years cultivating relationships with students and parents, alumni, faculty and staff. She has been a tireless advocate for the university and its constituents during her career at CU Boulder. Coffin says she believes in the power of education and, as a first-generation college student, understands the challenges and rewards of pursuing degrees in higher education.  

“Words cannot express my heartfelt gratitude to all of the amazing colleagues, alumni, donors and friends that I have had the privilege of working with in support of this inspiring university,” said Coffin. “To our amazing CU Boulder Advancement team, thank you for your partnership and commitment to building an amazing advancement organization. Your dedication and passion in support of our Forever Buff community inspires me each and every day. I am blessed to have built relationships with wonderful and visionary donors, volunteers and friends of the university, who give so much of themselves to ensure the current and future success of CU. In closing, a special message of gratitude to Chancellor DiStefano for his belief in me and providing me with opportunities to grow, learn and lead.” 

Coffin has bachelor’s degrees in community health (1977) and biology education (1985) from the University of Northern Colorado. Upon graduating with her first bachelor’s degree, she served in the United States Peace Corps in the Philippines, working as a community health educator and faculty member at Divine University in Tacloben, Leyte. In 1993, she earned a master’s degree, with distinction, in human communications theory. Coffin is married to CU alumnus Randy Coffin (EBIO, ’80) and is also the proud mother of a 2013 CU graduate. The Coffins have two adult children and two grandchildren. They have been loyal donors to the University of Colorado Boulder.

DiStefano will begin working with Coffin on a transition plan in the coming weeks. Decisions regarding an interim advancement leader and a search process for Coffin’s replacement will be announced by the chancellor at a later date.