Ashley Cullop: Chief Development Officer

Ashley Cullop
  • Class of: Col ’06, Educ ’10, Educ ’12
  • Hometown: Jacksonville, FL
  • Current City: Charlottesville, VA
  • Current Job: Chief Development Officer at the UVA Alumni Association
  • Bodo’s Order: An everything bagel with lox and cream cheese if I’m in a cream cheese mood, or an everything bagel with bacon, egg, and cheddar if I’m in an egg mood

What’s your UVA story?

I first visited UVA with my dad, who’s also a Wahoo (class of ’67). Even though he was really passionate about the University, he never pressured me to attend. I was shy in high school but really bloomed in college—I worked with the University Programs Council and was a member of the Fourth Year Trustees.

What’s your favorite UVA memory?

I attended the Curry School for my master’s in student affairs and doctorate in higher education and defended my dissertation in the Rotunda in 2012, in the room with a literal “hot seat” in front of the fireplace.

What was your journey after leaving UVA?

After graduating, I initially worked for the Alumni Association. While I was in grad school I worked in the Office of Student Affairs, and then I moved to DC after finishing my program to work for American University’s College of Arts and Sciences. After a year there, I worked for Darden and then the UVA Health System before returning to the Association. I’d built different relationships across the University and had seen it from a variety of different perspectives—as a student, a legacy, a donor and an employee.

What’s something you learned at UVA that you apply to your life now?

I learned how to do the hard things and step out of my comfort zone, to take on an intimidating responsibility or make a potentially unpopular decision. Sometimes you just have to take a risk and believe in yourself, and that’s served me well throughout my career.

What makes you say Wahoowa?

I’m proud that UVA continues to have such strong undergraduate culture, and that it fosters leadership, self-governance and responsibility in students and alums. I also think of athletics. Working at a different university helped me realize how important athletics is to UVA—it helps alums feel like they’re still a part of this place.

Tell us more about the work you do with the Association.

I lead the Development team, asking what we want to focus on, how we spend our time, what we’re fundraising for and how we accomplish it. I also spend time coordinating with colleagues inside Alumni Hall and across the University, figuring out how we can be good partners.

What’s it like to be in Charlottesville and work for the Alumni Association as an alumna?

If you’d asked me that in 2006 I’d say it was a challenging adjustment as I had to build a new community of friends and colleagues. But now I feel like I have a good balance and I’m in the larger Charlottesville community. My husband running for public office last year brought me out of my UVA-centric space, and I’ve since gotten really involved with the Women’s Initiative, a local non-profit, in town.

When you think of “UVA Alumni,” what comes to mind?

I attend lots of athletics events—basketball and football—with my family. I’ve also stayed engaged with some of the organizations I was involved with, like the Raven Society, and I have good relationships with some many UVA staff and faculty across the Grounds.

What’s the biggest way that alumni can impact UVA?

The people make UVA what it is—alumni are deeply connected to this place and give so much of their time when they don’t have to. I’d like alums to keep finding a way to show and share their perspective, because everyone’s ideas have merit and that’s what will keep the organization strong.