VP Development

Peter Smits

Interim Vice President for Advancement

(707) 664-2560



Professional Background

Dr. Peter Smits is Interim Vice President for Advancement at Sonoma State University and as most recently Vice President Emeritus at California State University, Fresno. With more than 40 years experience in the advancement arena for higher education, he has extensive expertise with fundraising and campaigns, alumni relations, communications and foundation management. He is also currently Senior Consultant with the Phoenix Philanthropy Group and a senior fellow at CASE International.

A former member of the CASE District VII board of directors and its Executive Committee, Dr. Smits was a member of the CASE Commission on Philanthropy and was the Inaugural Chair of the CSU Council of Vice Presidents. He is past president of the Central California chapter of the Association for Fundraising Professionals (AFP), and a recipient of that chapter’s Fundraising Executive of the Year award. He recently received the CASE Tribute Award.

Dr. Smits has presented at workshops, seminars and conferences for CASE International, CASE Districts VII and VIII, the Association of Governing Boards and AFP. He frequently serves as a workshop or retreat facilitator for foundation boards and alumni boards.

Prior to his appointment at Sonoma State and Fresno State, he served as Vice President for Advancement at Indiana University of Pennsylvania in western Pennsylvania. He has also served as executive Assistant to the Chancellor at Louisiana State University in Shreveport, Vice President for College Relations and Development at the State University of New York at Brockport and Dean of Students at the College of White Plains in New York.

Dr. Smits earned his bachelor's and master's degrees from the State University of New York at Albany, and the Ph.D. from the University of Buffalo. He completed postdoctoral work at Harvard University.