University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee Campus



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USF Sarasota-Manatee campus announces promotions in Advancement Office

University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee campus Regional Chancellor Karen A. Holbrook announced today that two members of its University Advancement team have been promoted: Marrie Neumer from senior director of development to associate vice president of advancement and Clara Reynardus de Villanueva from associate director of development to director of development.

marrie neumer

Marrie Neumer

Neumer has spent her entire professional career working in higher education, first as a head swimming and diving coach for more than 20 years, then as a director of development, assistant dean and major gifts officer at Cornell University for the 17 years where she led many successful initiatives, including fundraising for scholarships, hiring faculty and enhancing the student experience. Neumer also spearheaded fundraising for the new wing at Cornell’s I.M. Pei-designed art museum and was instrumental in completing the campaign to build Bill & Melinda Gates Hall, which houses computing and information science at Cornell.  She joined the USF Sarasota-Manatee campus staff in January 2020 and recently became a Certified Fundraising Executive (CFRE).

“We are fortunate that Marrie is so well qualified to step into this new leadership role for our campus,” Holbrook said. “She has done an exceptional job in her time here already, and I am excited to work with her and the advancement team on new initiatives for our campus.”

Neumer grew up in Rochester, New York, and received a bachelor’s degree at the College of Wooster (Ohio). A four-time NCAA Division III All-American swimmer, she went on to pursue a master’s degree in exercise physiology at Springfield College (Massachusetts) and spent the next two decades coaching swimmers at Springfield College, the University of Rochester, the University at Buffalo and Cornell University.

“I am so thrilled to work at the USF Sarasota-Manatee campus and have the opportunity to make a positive impact in the lives of our students and support the work of our faculty,” Neumer said. “USF continues to have great promise and potential and I’m honored to be part of such a great university.”

clara reynardus de villanueva

Clara Reynardus de Villanueva

Reynardus de Villanueva joined the advancement team in July 2019 and has expanded USF’s relationships within the community in support of the university’s fundraising efforts. Prior to her appointment at USF, she was a member of the fundraising team at Sarasota-based CAN Community Health, and previously she served for nine years as a product-marketing manager for MCI WorldCom in Boca Raton.

Reynardus de Villanueva has served in a volunteer leadership capacity with a variety of community organizations. She currently is a member of the USF Sarasota-Manatee Women in STEM Leadership Committee, the Cuban Art Alliance of Longboat Key, and she serves on the Sarasota Ballet Advisory Council. She also volunteers with the Sarasota-Manatee Black-Latino Collaboration and Girls Inc. and previously volunteered with the Visible Men Academy, the Community Foundation of Sarasota County and the Child Protection Center.

Reynardus de Villanueva recently received the USF Sarasota-Manatee campus Emerging Staff Award and completed the USF Muma College Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in the Workplace certificate.

“Clara has been a wonderful addition to our Advancement team,” Holbrook said. “She has strong connections to the Sarasota-Manatee region and is passionate about helping our campus to thrive by connecting donors and potential donors with our students and faculty.”

A fine artist and muralist whose family owns a large collection of Cuban art, Reynardus de Villanueva operated Light Noise Studio for 18 years. She is a 1986 graduate of Harvard College, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology and social relations. She lives in Sarasota with her husband, Roberto.

“It is such a humbling experience to work with our students and learn about their dreams and ambitions and some of the challenges they must overcome to be successful,” Reynardus de Villanueva said. “It is very rewarding when members of our community choose to share their resources with USF that impact lives in such a positive way.” 

Senior Associate Vice President of Development Jennifer McAfee said, “Marrie and Clara have excelled in their service to the university. We look forward to an even brighter future as they continue to grow community support for the USF Sarasota-Manatee campus.”

Lee Williams, former regional vice chancellor for advancement, recently retired from USF to accept a new position with a company in the private sector.

“Lee has worked in university advancement for more than 30 years, including 10 years of service overall at USF, with the past four years at the Sarasota-Manatee campus, and I am very grateful for all of her work on behalf of our students, faculty, staff and campus,” Holbrook said. “She and her team have done an amazing job raising funds to support student scholarships, research and special projects, and building relationships within our local community to position us for great success.”

The promotions became effective on July 1.

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