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Jumpstarting philanthropy and launching a capital campaign

Meet Katie Fraumann, senior vice president of Advancement and External Relations


Katie Fraumann in her office
(Photo by Jeff Carrion/DePaul University)

During his academic convocation speech in August, President Robert L. Manuel shared his bold ambitions for DePaul in the coming years. These ambitions are supported by the Designing DePaul framework that he launched in January 2023 and include two focused campaigns that would jumpstart philanthropic expansion at DePaul: one to bolster academic work and the other to improve athletics facilities. Leading these efforts and others is Senior Vice President of Advancement and External Relations, Katie Fraumann, who joined DePaul from the University of Michigan in the spring of 2023. Newsline recently sat down with Fraumann for a little Q&A to get to know her better.

You’ve been at DePaul for about six months now. What have you learned? What has reinforced your decision to make the move to DePaul?
Honestly, I’ve learned so much about the heart of DePaul and its mission. Service is a core value of mine and of DePaul’s, so I’ve really connected to that here. I’m blown away by the students, staff, deans, Rob, Athletic Director DeWayne Peevy and all the cabinet members that I’ve met. They have been so welcoming to me and are so committed and working so hard for DePaul. I’m excited to join them and to serve our students, but also to serve my division and DePaul more broadly. My experience so far has absolutely reinforced my decision—it’s a great place for me and a wonderful outcome for my family, really.

How are you and your family adjusting to life in Chicago?
​My in-laws live in Deerfiled, Ill. and I’ve been coming to the Chicago area professionally for some time, so the transition hasn’t been as hard as you would think. I have three boys, and they are adjusting well to their new schools and activities. We had a three-month period where there was some back and forth between Chicago and Ann Arbor, but we’re more settled now. I could do without the traffic! In Ann Arbor I had about a two-minute commute to work, so I’m still trying to wrap my head around my current commute.

You played college basketball at a BIG 10 school and served as team captain during your senior year. How has participating in athletics shaped you as a person and professional?
You know, I come from an athletic family, and my dad was a college athlete. So, my parents instilled in me all those things they learned by participating in team sports: collaboration, time management, competitiveness, ambition, discipline. Then, as a college athlete myself, I learned at a relatively young age--as a developing adult--those things and more, especially being at a Division I school that also has excellent academics. 

At the end of the day, I learned how to be a good teammate: how to contribute to a team effort and how to support others on the team. I came to realize about ten years ago that I really like to support and watch people grow, and it’s become a big part of my leadership philosophy: my job as a leader is to support the growth and development of my team.

What drew you to a career in advancement/development and what excites you about it?
I actually went to school to become a teacher and kind of fell into fundraising. I was in Champaign​​​​​​, Ill. student-teaching and landed a fundraising job at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign business school through a professional connection. That role, in addition to my sales and marketing experience from one year at Nike right after college, sent me down this path. 

But going down this path also seemed natural because I’m from a service-oriented family, I believe in teaching and the mission of higher education, and I also enjoy relationship management. Really, I feel like I can make a difference in higher education and being the recipient of a full academic scholarship as an undergraduate student, I understand the impact giving has on a family and on an individual. I can tap into the passion of a philanthropic person and help them give, knowing that it’s more than money:  It’s the impact on a campus and the community that inspires me and helps me to inspire others. And it’s an honor to do this for DePaul.

And now for the most important question: What do you like to do in your free time?
I love to hang out with my family and catch my boys’ games. I love watching college sports, especially basketball. I run and ride my bike on the lakefront trails. And, I’ll admit it, I’m a sneaker junky—I love collecting sneakers!

Keep up with Fraumann’s work at DePaul on the Designing DePaul Initiatives website and watch out for messages from her on the Leadership Notes web page.