Advancement professional, Dorchester County native, and former assistant professor Amber Tolley McGinnis returns to Chesapeake College as the new Director of Development and Executive Director for the Chesapeake College Foundation.
In her role, Ms. McGinnis leads and directs the College’s resource development efforts with an emphasis on private and philanthropic fundraising. She also manages grant efforts, identifying funding priorities and developing/executing an annual grant strategic plan. As the Executive Director of the Chesapeake College Foundation, Ms. McGinnis manages the operations of the Foundation including all fiscal responsibilities.
“Having grown up here on the Shore, I’ve always gotten great satisfaction from helping my family, friends, and neighbors achieve their goals and dreams here at Chesapeake College. And in my new role, I’m looking forward to playing a part in the bigger picture–raising funds that can help fuel those transformations,” Ms. McGinnis said.
She added, “Scholarship support is crucial for many of our students to pursue their educational goals. It is also essential for the College to provide leading-edge technology in our instructional labs – whether for computer science, health professions, or skilled trades. The training and education that we deliver at Chesapeake College not only helps to better the lives of our students, but also provides the qualified workers for many of our local businesses, resulting in a positive impact on our local economy here on the Shore.”
With more than 20 years of experience in both the public and private sectors, Ms. McGinnis specializes in education communications. At Chesapeake College, she has held both faculty and leadership positions: Assistant Professor of Communication, Faculty Vice-Chair, Director of the Honors Program, and Interim Director of the Cambridge Center. She was also the College’s 2018-2020 Stuart M. Bounds Distinguished Teaching Chair.
“I am grateful to have a skilled hand and great leader who understands Chesapeake and the community we serve,” said President Clifford Coppersmith. “Amber brings a wonderful level of enthusiasm and understanding of our mission to her work.”
Most recently, Ms. McGinnis was the Assistant Director for Communications and Outreach at Washington College’s Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience. Returning to Chesapeake in a new role, Ms. McGinnis said, brings new opportunities to connect area residents with all the programs and services available at the college.
“I look forward to working with Michelle Hall, our Director of Constituent Engagement and Event Management. Together we will continue building relationships with industry and community leaders throughout our five-county service region, so the College can remain an engine for economic growth on the Shore.”
Through her experience teaching community college students and her own personal journey, Ms. McGinnis learned the power of education to transform lives.
“The 14 years I’ve spent in the classroom at Chesapeake College has given me an intimate view into how education can be truly transformative,” Ms. McGinnis said. “And as a first-generation college graduate myself, I know the grit and self-confidence you gain from achieving something you’ve worked long and hard for–it translates into all aspects of a person’s life.”
One of the first priorities Ms. McGinnis will oversee is raising funds to support expanding the college’s skilled trades education. These funds will bolster programs like welding and marine trades, as well as introduce new initiatives in advanced manufacturing technology. Demand for quality, trained workers in these areas continues to run high on the Shore, and the college has seen tremendous interest from students to enter these fields.
Additionally, Ms. McGinnis looks forward to working with the Chesapeake College Foundation’s Board of Directors, whose members oversee the direction of the Foundation and represent all five counties within the college’s service region. The Chesapeake College Foundation builds the resources to support scholarships, teaching and learning, innovative projects, and local partnerships at Chesapeake College, serving the wide-ranging needs of the community
Ms. McGinnis is a graduate of Cambridge-South Dorchester High School, holds a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Mass Communications from Towson University, and a Master’s of Arts in Publications Design from the University of Baltimore. A resident of Cambridge, she is married and has two children.
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