Development, Alumni Relations welcome new members

Andrew McIlree leads the team as chief development officer

May 3, 2022

Spring has come to symbolize a season of growth, fresh starts and progress anew. The Office of Development and Alumni Relations at the School of Nursing has taken this to heart, as three new staff members joined Major Gift Officer Maria McLemore, while another existing team member transitioned into a new role.

Andrew McIlree

Andrew McIlree joined the school as the chief development officer in February and leads the department’s five-member team following the successful completion of the Empowering Health campaign. “The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the crucial importance of nurses and has brought this professional calling to an inflection point,” McIlree says. He most recently served as the senior development officer for Allina Health’s Abbott Northwestern Hospital Foundation, Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute Foundation, and on health system-wide fundraising initiatives. “Now more than ever, our community and world need the best nurses. In partnership with the school’s alumni, friends, faculty and professional staff, I am eager to advance the School of Nursing’s land-grant university mission,” he says. In addition to advancing philanthropic initiatives for the School of Nursing and the Earl E. Bakken Center for Spirituality and Healing, McIlree will oversee the school’s alumni relations program and develop a common grateful recipient program. “We are excited to have Andrew as a team member,” says Dean Connie White Delaney. “His leadership will continue to move our fundraising and alumni relations programs forward.”

Virginia Kaczmarek

Virginia Kaczmarek served in leadership roles at the YMCA for 22 years before becoming the development officer for the Earl E. Bakken Center for Spirituality & Healing. The Bakken Center is an interdisciplinary University-wide center, which has had an administrative home in the School of Nursing since 2020. As its lead development professional, Kaczmarek will secure funding for the center’s programs and faculty, and will partner with colleagues in the School of Nursing in areas of mutual interest. “I have always been an advocate for physical, spiritual, and mental health and wellbeing,” says Kaczmarek.  “The Earl E. Bakken Center for Spirituality & Healing is a true asset to the University of Minnesota and beyond. I look forward to building on the center’s success and helping to connect passions with possibilities.”

Matthew Opitz

Matthew Opitz was promoted to associate development officer and transitioned into his new role last December. As one of three fundraisers, Opitz will identify, cultivate and steward individual and corporate donors for the School of Nursing. He joined the school as a program/project specialist in 2020. “I am thrilled to be able to grow within the School of Nursing, and in turn partner with our community to advance the vital work of nursing,” says Opitz. “It is an honor to continue to advance what Richard Olding Beard knew when he advocated for the school’s founding in 1909, that educating nurses would help society recognize the worth of human life, conserve human health and provide for social justice.”

Madeline Folstein

Madeline Folstein joined the school as a program/project specialist in February and will assist in the engagement of alumni, donors, faculty and staff. As a member of both the Office of Development and Alumni Relations and Office of Strategic Communications teams, Folstein also will help craft communications across the school’s various audiences. “I’m a proud former School of Nursing student worker,” says Folstein. “I’m happy to be back on campus contributing to and supporting such a vibrant learning community.” Prior to the School of Nursing, Folstein served as the communications and marketing coordinator at Charities Review Council.

School of Nursing
Foundation Board of Trustees

Bernie Aldrich
Rimage Corporation, Retired
Jeannine Bayard
UnitedHealth Group, Retired
Ann Garwick
University of Minnesota School of Nursing, Retired
Allysia Jenkins
Cynthia Jurgensen
Past Chair
UnitedHealth Group, Retired
Lisa Martin
University of Minnesota School of Nursing
Christine Mueller
University of Minnesota School of Nursing
Nancy Olson
Abbott Northwestern Hospital, Retired
Marjorie Page
Chair Elect
M Health Fairview, Retired
David Rothenberger
University of Minnesota Department of Surgery
Sharyn Salmen
Salmen Consulting
Nancy DeZellar Walsh
DeZellar Walsh Consulting LLC

Ex-Officio Members 
(with voting privileges)

Jean Carraher
Nursing Alumni Representative
Alumni Society Board of Directors 
Andrew McIlree
Chief Development Officer 
University of Minnesota School of Nursing
Maria McLemore
Major Gift Officer
University of Minnesota School of Nursing
Connie White Delaney
Professor and Dean
University of Minnesota School of Nursing

Trustee Emeriti

Sandra Anderson
Dawn Bazarko
Mary Lou Christensen
Susan Forstrom
Patricia Kane
Marilee Miller
Carolyn Schroeder
Jack Spillane


Tags: Development