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Sam D. Burston Vice President and Chief Advancement Officer

In his role as Vice President and Chief Advancement Officer, Burston oversees Clark Atlanta University’s fundraising, advancement services, public relations and marketing, and media relations functions.

Dr. Ronald A. Johnson, President of CAU states “Sam Burston is one of America’s most respected advocates for higher education opportunity.  His work at the United Negro College Fund through special events alone, resulted in increased revenues, from $3.1 million to $9.1 million in only five years, increased national visibility and, most important, exponential impact in the lives of deserving young scholars.  We are most fortunate that he sees in this new assignment a comparable scope of possibility and reward in our work to transform Clark Atlanta University into a global pipeline for intellect, research, creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship.  With Sam now a part of our advancement team, I am confident that our ongoing transformation can become a model for 21st century academia, not just among HBCUs, but for all of America’s higher education community.”

Burston, who had served as national director of the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) since 2011, brings 20 years of executive-level development experience to this new post.  He joined UNCF in 1997 as area director.  In 2003, he was UNCF’s regional director of workplace initiatives.  From 2005 to 2011, he served as UNCF’s regional development director, managing a staff of 13, including six area development directors.  In this role, he directed public relations and constituent communications, alumni relations and volunteer engagement, and also helped develop campaign programs and collateral, all resulting in achieving an annual $7.5 million goal.  As national director, he was responsible for constituent initiatives among national groups and professional organizations, faith-based campaigns and programs among other key donor segments.  His portfolio included oversight of nearly 90 annual initiatives, from national broadcasts, to signature galas, to alumni and pre-alumni development conferences.”

Burston says that while accepting a new assignment outside of UNCF required thoughtful consideration, joining the team at Clark Atlanta was an easy decision.  “My experiences with UNCF are ones that I treasure. They continue to illuminate my professional path.  I’ve had the honor of working with development professionals across the U.S.  The relationships I’ve developed and the successes achieved by our UNCF team are irreplaceable.  My decision to join the advancement team at Clark Atlanta,” he adds, “will allow me to channel those experiences into work that I believe will ultimately impact how others view the role of HBCUs in heightening and sustaining America’s global competitiveness.  It’s an exciting undertaking and, for me,” said Burston, also an acclaimed visual artist, “a chance to help create another kind of masterpiece.”

Prior to joining the UNCF, Burston, who earned the B.A. in education from Morris Brown College in Atlanta, was a hospitality industry executive, working with both the Radisson and Sheraton hotel chains.  He also has completed training with the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) and the American Express Non-Profit Leadership Academy.  In addition to AFP, he also is a member of Iota Phi Theta Fraternity Inc., the Alliance of HBCU artists and the Coalition of Black Meeting Planners.

“I have long respected and admired Sam Burston’s work,” says Caldwell.  He is a die-hard advocate for our nation’s HBCUs and a stalwart champion for creating equity and access for young scholars and leaders.  His personal and professional integrity are unimpeachable and, as important, his creativity is in large part responsible for elevating the UNCF brand. I am excited to now have his expertise and perspective on our team at CAU.  He is a pivotal addition to our ranks  and will play a key role in our institutional transformation.” 


Sam D. Burston
Vice President and Chief Advancement Officer
Office of Institutional Advancement and University Relations
211 Harkness Hall
Telephone: (404) 880-6316
Fax: (404) 880-8395 
Email: sburston@cau.edu



Institutional Advancement and University Relations

205 Harkness Hall
223 James P. Brawley  Dr., SW
 Atlanta, GA 30314
Phone:  404-880-6189
Fax:  404-880-8395
Email:  planmygift@cau.edu


Ms. Maria Bryson
Executive Assistant 
Institutional Advancement and University Relations 
211 Harkness Hall 
Telephone: (404) 880-6040 
Fax: (404) 880-8395 
Email: mbryson@cau.edu


Michael E. Cade
Major Gifts Officer
Institutional Advancement and University Relations
209 Harkness Hall
Telephone: (404) 880-8155
Fax: (404) 880-8395 
Email: mcade@cau.edu

Ms. Quisa Foster
Assistant Vice President
Institutional Advancement and University Relations
210 Harkness Hall
Telephone: (404) 880-8742
Fax: (404) 880-8395
Email: qfoster@cau.edu



Ms. Allison L. Barrett
Data Integrity Specialist
Office of Institutional Advancement and University Relations
Harkness Hall, Room 120
Telephone: (404) 880-6095
Fax: (404) 880-8948
Email: Abarrett@cau.edu


Kimberly Sellars-Bates
Grant Writer
Office of Institutional Advancement and University Relations
Harkness Hall, Room 116
Telephone: (404) 880-8328
Fax: (404) 880-8948
Email: kbates@cau.edu

Shemitria Smith
Director of Advancement Operations
Office of Institutional Advancement and University Relations
Harkness Hall, Room 119
Telephone: (404) 880-6909
Fax: (404) 880-8948
Email: Ssmith@cau.edu


University Relations, External and Community Affairs

Barbara Martin
Director, External Initiatives & Special Events
University Relations, External & Community Affairs
Harkness Hall, Room 110
Telephone: (404) 880-6264
Email: bmartin@cau.edu


Cafabian Heard
Creative & Marketing Services Specialist
University Relations, External & Community Affairs
Harkness Hall, Room 214
Telephone: (404) 880-6189
Email: cheard@cau.edu


Mia Jones-Walker
Digital & Social Media Specialist
University Relations, External & Community Affairs
Harkness Hall, Room 214
Telephone: (404) 880-6186
Email: mwalker@cau.edu