Niles Sorensen, vice chancellor for University Advancement Division, announces his retirement

Niles Sorensen, vice chancellor for University Advancement Division, announces his retirement
Thursday, April 14, 2022

Niles F. Sorensen, vice chancellor for the Division of University Advancement and president of the UNC Charlotte Foundation since 2006, will retire in December 2022. 

Sorensen leads development, alumni engagement, advancement operations, constituent relations, community relations, university events and university communications, overseeing UNC Charlotte’s fundraising efforts and related activities. In 2020-21, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic — as he completed a Master of Arts in History from UNC Charlotte — the division launched an updated University brand and rollout while raising a record-breaking $38 million overall, with $2 million raised for Niner Nation Gives. Fundraising totals for 2021-22 are projected to exceed that total.

Under Sorensen’s leadership, Exponential: The Campaign for UNC Charlotte, the largest capital campaign in UNC Charlotte history — which spanned 2016 to 2020 — surpassed its ambitious fundraising goal of $200 million. Support from record numbers of alumni and new and established friends of UNC Charlotte made possible the addition of more than 200 scholarships, including the Albert, Martin, Johnson and Freeman Scholars programs, and expansion of the Levine Scholars program. 

Exponential, chaired by 1973 alumnus Gene Johnson, also provided new research opportunities for faculty and students, expansion of the athletics program, and 11 notable campus spaces named for alumni or their affiliations. These include Hauser Alumni Pavilion, Hunter and Stephanie Edwards Promenade, Johnson Band Center, Jamil Niner Student Food Pantry, Christine S. Price Center for Counseling and Psychological Service, Niblock Student Center, Cpl. Robert Qutub USMC Veterans Lounge and the Cato College of Education. Over the course of the pandemic, the division spearheaded several special efforts focused on meeting the extraordinary needs of students, raising $590,000 for the UNC Charlotte Student Emergency Fund.

“Niles has been a driving force behind UNC Charlotte’s success during a time of dramatic institutional growth,” said Chancellor Sharon L. Gaber. “As awareness has grown for the University’s enormous impact on our region, so has engagement with key business, community and civic leaders who understand what it means for us to be North Carolina’s urban research university. As a result, UNC Charlotte is well-positioned to continue an upward trajectory of external support.”

As president of the UNC Charlotte Foundation, an appointed 45-member board whose role is to enhance the University’s ongoing base of private support, Sorensen was instrumental in the development and completion of the UNC Charlotte Marriott Hotel & Conference Center, which opened on campus in 2021. Prior to joining UNC Charlotte, Sorensen served as executive vice president for financial development of the YMCA of Metropolitan Los Angeles.

Among the highlights of Sorensen’s tenure at UNC Charlotte was welcoming his two children into the UNC Charlotte Alumni Association. His daughter, Christine, earned a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology in 2015 and a Master of Social Work in 2017. His son, John, earned a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science in 2017, making the Sorensen family the proud owners of four degrees from UNC Charlotte.