Kelly McCaskill: Chief Advancement Officer

Kelly McCaskill
  • Class of: Col ’96
  • Hometown: Reedville, VA
  • Current City: Crozet, VA
  • Current Job: Chief Advancement Officer at the Miller Center
  • Bodo’s order: It depends on the time of day! My lunch order is an everything bagel with hummus and watercress, and my wacky order is an everything bagel with cream cheese, fig spread, cucumber and watercress
  • Best excuse for missing a reunion: I delivered my second child the weekend of our 15th Reunion in 2011!

Tell us about your current life.

Since June of 2019, I’ve been the chief advancement officer at the Miller Center. I live in Crozet with my husband and our two kids. We met first year while living in neighboring dorms at UVA and reconnected in 2004 through a mutual friend.

Tell us your UVA story.

My high school graduating class was only 25 people, so even though my grandfather and his brothers all went to UVA, I thought the school might be too big for me at first. I did theater in high school, so I participated in First Year Players and then joined my sorority in my second year. I majored in art history and French and studied abroad in Paris.

What’s a favorite UVA memory?

I lived on the third floor of Hancock my first year, and we had several memorable music wars with neighboring Metcalf. In those days, we’d position a portable stereo in a dorm window and blast something ridiculous – pretty sure Barry Manilow was a frequent pick on our side – and the sound would bounce off the brick walls of the opposite dorm.  A response of heavy metal would then come from Metcalf, and things would escalate from there.  That’s one of my first memories of the man who is now my husband, although we never dated while at UVA.

What was your journey after leaving UVA?

Just three days after I graduated, I got a job working at a study abroad company in Chicago. After a couple of years, a sorority sister connected me with a temp position at a DC museum. Eventually I transitioned into a full-time role in development and later received my MBA from George Washington University.

By 2014 I was married with two kids and juggling DC/NoVA traffic and life, so we looked for other opportunities. The UVA School of Nursing was seeking a chief fundraiser and the position was particularly meaningful for me at that time, so we moved to Charlottesville. I recently moved over to the Miller Center. It sounds cliché, but working at UVA is really rewarding and I feel so passionately about it. It’s been eye-opening to see the place from the inside in a totally different way.

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

On an essay for my fourth year art history seminar, my professor commented, “This is well done, but you indulge in too much flowery language.” It’s always made me think more about writing well.

What makes you say Wahoowa?

Basketball and football immediately come to mind. I took my daughter to a women’s soccer game and was struck by the lack of singing that I’m so used to at other games!

What does being a UVA alumna mean to you?

I have so much respect for this place and what it’s doing now. I love the concept of being an institution that is “great AND good.”

How do you stay connected to fellow alumni?

The alumni I still talk to are some of my best friends. Some of them we see more during different times of the year, and social media is great for far-afield communication and facilitating long-distance connections.

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

The relationship between engagement and giving is mutual—giving helps alumni feel more engaged, and being engaged with helps alumni want to give more. I think it’s important for alumni to know what’s going on at the University now and stay current. All alumni can tell the story of UVA.