Many people like to ease into a new job — not so Samantha Krzywonos. As the new Fine Arts Development Officer, Krzywonos spent her first month establishing the largest donor-funded endowed award in UVic’s history: the Jeffrey Rubinoff Scholar in Art as a Source of Knowledge Endowment.

But the Rubinoff Endowment, which establishes a recurring four-year PhD fellowship in the area of modern and contemporary art history, is only one of the many projects Krzywonos has underway. And while she may have only started full-time in Fine Arts in September, Krzywonos is no stranger to UVic, having spent the past three years in Development positions for Education, Social Sciences and CARSA.

Samantha Krzywonos (far right) marks the
98th birthday of longtime donor Tommy Mayne, with three current Theatre student recipients

“It’s all about relationships,” says Krzywonos, “whether that’s researching with faculty members, meeting with student recipients or managing the stewardship of our donors.”

Those donors can range from alumni and retired faculty to parents of students, corporate partners and arts patrons. And with over 150 active donors and nearly $10 million in planned gift expectancies, Fine Arts offers Krzywonos a diverse and dynamic portfolio.

Much of the past few months was spent consulting with faculty, determining their future needs. “We’ve spent a lot of time this fall setting priorities for departments,” she explains. “Not just scholarships and awards, but also the need for innovative technology, whether that’s space or equipment.”

But an essential part of her position is connecting donors and students. December 12th, for example, marked the 98th birthday of longtime donor Tommy Mayne, and Krzywonos helped him celebrate by organizing a luncheon with three current recipients of the Thomas and Elizabeth Mayne Theatre Scholarship. “Tommy and his wife were patrons long before the current Phoenix building was even built, so it was great for him to be able to meet those students this week.”

When asked about the most rewarding aspect of her job, Krzywonos doesn’t hesitate. “Meeting with donors. It’s all about saying thank-you and sharing the impact of that support. If a student can focus on their studies and not have to take on extra work just to get by, that donor support can make a huge difference in their life.”