Thomas Burke to step down as executive director of VCU Foundation

Laura Kottkamp, executive director of the VCU School of Business Foundation, will oversee both foundations.

Thomas C. Burke will step down Jan. 1 as executive director of the Virginia Commonwealth University Foundation to become senior philanthropic adviser for VCU. In this role, he will remain a key member of the VCU Office of Development and Alumni Relations leadership team, working directly for Jay E. Davenport, vice president of development and alumni relations, and focusing on principal giving and campaign strategy. Burke has helmed the foundation for 19 years. 

Thomas Burke.
Thomas Burke.

“Tom’s leadership and the relationships that he has built inside and outside of the university over the past two decades have strategically grown the VCU Foundation’s private philanthropy, which is so critical to the university’s success,” said Patty Wilkerson, VCU Foundation president. “He has worked well with our board to improve governance and grant-making on the Monroe Park Campus, which has empowered development activities among the many schools that we support.”  

Burke, who has a bachelor’s in education and a Master of Public Administration from VCU, joined the university in 1986 as the external relations officer for the School of Dentistry. At the dental school, Burke was responsible for fundraising activities and concluded his 13-year tenure as assistant dean for development and continuing education. During his 33 years at VCU, he has been involved in all four of the university’s capital campaigns, which have raised more than $1.4 billion in support of university priorities.

“I have had the pleasure of working with many excellent volunteers, especially those in leadership positions, over the past two decades. With their input, we have improved and expanded many of the foundation programs and services to support the schools and units on the Monroe Park Campus,” Burke said. “I really appreciate their dedication to VCU and know that their engagement will make this transition seamless.”  

Laura Kottkamp, executive director of the VCU School of Business Foundation and corporate relations, will also become executive director of the VCU Foundation on Jan. 1. The VCU and School of Business foundations will remain separate, but Kottkamp will oversee both. 

Laura Kottkamp.
Laura Kottkamp.

Tom Snead, former VCU rector and current chair of the VCU School of Business Foundation, said, “Bravo! I commend VCU’s willingness to maximize a talent like Laura across both foundations.”

Wilkerson shared Snead’s enthusiasm.

“The foundation board and I are thrilled to have Laura assume leadership duties,” Wilkerson said. “Her track record at the School of Business is impeccable, and we are certain she will continue the VCU Foundation’s trajectory of success for years to come.”

Kottkamp joined VCU in August 2013 and was named executive director of the School of Business Foundation in July 2014. She holds a bachelor’s degree from William & Mary and a Master of Business Administration from Duke University. She received her doctorate in leadership from VCU’s School of Education in 2019. 

“I am delighted that Tom has agreed to initiate this new leadership role at VCU. Tom’s involvement with all four VCU capital campaigns will be invaluable as we continue with the Make It Real Campaign and plan for future fundraising efforts. His knowledge of VCU simply can’t be replaced and our institution will be in a much better position going forward with his strategic leadership,” Davenport said. “At the same time, we are unbelievably fortunate to have a foundation professional on campus ready for the challenge of leading two of our foundations. Laura is an exemplary colleague, a great executive and has done an outstanding job of leading the School of Business Foundation and executing its key goals.”

About VCU and VCU Health

Virginia Commonwealth University is a major, urban public research university with national and international rankings in sponsored research. Located in downtown Richmond, VCU enrolls more than 30,000 students in 233 degree and certificate programs in the arts, sciences and humanities. Twenty-two of the programs are unique in Virginia, many of them crossing the disciplines of VCU’s 11 schools and three colleges. The VCU Health brand represents the VCU health sciences academic programs, the VCU Massey Cancer Center and the VCU Health System, which comprises VCU Medical Center (the only academic medical center in the region), Community Memorial Hospital, Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU, and MCV Physicians. The clinical enterprise includes a collaboration with Sheltering Arms Institute for physical rehabilitation services. For more, please visit and