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University of Leicester announces first Director of Development

Stephen O'Connor, currently UK Director of Fundraising for Barnardo's, brings a wealth of fundraising experience to Leicester.

University of Leicester announces first Director of Development

Barnardo's UK Director of Fundraising to take on new University role

Posted 5 September 2008

Jpeg image available from

The University of Leicester has announced that the current UK Director of Fundraising at leading children’s charity Barnardo’s, Steve O’Connor, is to become the University’s first Director of Development.

The strategic appointment will help underpin Leicester’s ambition to develop its campus for a growing student population and enhance its academic reputation. The University is currently ranked 12th in the UK and top in the East Midlands by The Complete University Guide published in The Independent.

Steve led Barnardo’s fundraising growth for the past eight years where he has put together an award winning team and secured multi million pound funding to support the rapid growth in local services for over 100,000 vulnerable children and families across the UK.

Successful partnerships have been forged with individuals, trusts and major corporate partners. Barnardo’s was also successful in winning the BBC Blue Peter Appeal in 2007.

Steve, a graduate of the University of Leicester and Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Marketing, said that although he was sad to leave Barnardo’s, he was very excited by the prospect of returning to the University and leading a growing Development department.

He said: “I am passionate about education and know the transformation it can bring to the lives of all young people and especially those traditionally excluded and the hard to reach. This is a great opportunity for me to return to my alma mater and work with alumni and supporters to help spearhead future growth at one of the UK’s leading universities.”

Vice-Chancellor Professor Robert Burgess said: “We are delighted to have secured the services of a leading and respected figure in UK charity fundraising and one who is already familiar with the ethos of this University having been a student here.

“Raising funds is essential to help Leicester build for the future with confidence and to extend its reputation as one of the leading universities in the UK.”

Steve is due to take up his post at the University of Leicester in November.

Note to editors:

Biographical note:

Steve’s career spans time as a community development worker in Leicester, local government in Scotland and senior sales and marketing roles with a world wide children’s brand.

As a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Marketing he joined Barnardo’s in December 2000, after 5 successful years as a Head of Fundraising at leading health charity, Macmillan Cancer Support.

Steve is a Chartered Marketer and Member of the Institute of Fundraising. He is a keen sports fan and lives in rural Northamptonshire with his family.

Jpeg image of Steve O’Connor available from

The University of Leicester

The University of Leicester is a leading UK University committed to international excellence through the creation of world changing research and high quality, inspirational teaching.

The University is ranked 12th in the UK (out of 120 institutions) by the Independent’s Complete University Guide. The Guide describes Leicester as a “first class university”. Leicester is ranked 14th by the Guardian and The Times university guides.

The University was shortlisted by the Sunday Times for their award of University of the Year 2007. It was shortlisted by the Times Higher Education Supplement in 2005 and 2006 for their University of the Year award.

Leicester is a member of the 1994 Group of research intensive universities.

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