Courtney R. Stombock

AUP’s New Vice President for Development and Alumni Relations, is Ready for a New Adventure

AUP is pleased to welcome Courtney R. Stombock as the new Vice President for Development and Alumni Relations. Stombock joins AUP from Atlanta, Georgia, where she has served as the Associate Dean of Advancement and Alumni Engagement at Emory University School of Law since 2017.

Stombock previously held positions as Senior Associate Director of Major Gifts Fundraising at the University of Cambridge and as Assistant Dean for Development at the Florida State University Foundation. She earned an Executive MBA from Cambridge Judge Business School and a bachelor’s degree from Mississippi State University.

To introduce Stombock to the AUP community, we sat down with her to learn more about her background and her goals in this new role.


Welcome to the AUP community! Will you be relocating to Paris?

I’m going to work remotely from my home in Atlanta, Georgia, and travel to Paris and other parts of Europe throughout the year for events and activities. With many of the university’s alumni, donors, friends and families being US-based, I will be able to meet them in their home cities more easily from this side of the Atlantic. 


Can you share a little bit about your personal and professional background? To begin with, where were you raised?

I was born in Austin, Texas and went to school in Austin; Dallas, Texas; Durant, Oklahoma; and Madison, Mississippi, where I finished my senior year of high school. My dad worked in IT in the 80s and 90s, so we moved frequently for his job opportunities.


What impact did moving around so much as a child have on you?

Having moved around a lot and attended three different high schools, I had to adapt to these new environments, make friends, and find a place for myself. So, I would say I am extremely adaptable and I pride myself on my ability to acculturate, while also being myself. When I moved to Cambridge from Florida in 2014 with my partner and two young children, that approach – of curiosity, understanding and sense of adventure – is what smoothed our transition and helped us flourish during our time abroad.


One particular project I worked on was a new alumni center on campus, which was from and for the community. This was a pivotal moment for me in that I realized a group of people could come together to make something happen in an altruistic way.

Courtney R. Stombock
After your time living abroad in the UK and now being in the US, what drew you to AUP’s community of global explorers and to Paris?

My family was starting to have conversations about other international opportunities around the same time that I saw the job opportunity with AUP. Through all of the conversations I had in the interview process, it became obvious that AUP was a special place. Whether it serves a student for a semester or for the duration of their degree, it is a transformative – possibly even life-changing – experience. There is a big contrast between the two kinds of student experiences: law school, while rewarding, is oftentimes extremely difficult and fraught with challenges, while the student experience at AUP is life-affirming, helping students define the trajectory of their careers, lives and passions. As a result, the alumni population is certainly different. One of the challenges I'm going to have coming into this role is understanding the different connections our alumni and affiliates have with the institution. This might mean redefining the ways our former students and graduates interact with the institution and then engaging with them based on those relationships.


How did you become interested in the field of alumni relations and development?

I’m a first-generation college graduate in my immediate family. I worked the entire time I was at Mississippi State University, and one of my jobs was working in the call center for the MSU Foundation office. They were opening a new phone center in partnership with RuffaloCODY. It was through that work that I became interested in fundraising, alumni relations and the power of philanthropy. One particular project I worked on was a new alumni center on campus, which was from and for the community. This was a pivotal moment for me in that I realized a group of people could come together to make something happen in an altruistic way. When I got married in 2003, my husband and I hosted our wedding reception in that very building, the Hunter Henry Center.


What a tangible example of the power of philanthropy! As you embark on this new chapter in your professional life, is there anything you are most looking forward to?

I’m most excited about working with the leadership team and the rest of the faculty, staff and board members. President Stephens is launching a strategic planning process, and my role will be defining, developing and executing strategies for fundraising and alumni relations for the institution that helps achieve those strategic goals for AUP. I imagine the kinds of things that will be fundraising priorities are building the university endowment as our long-term funding strategy, finding creative ways to support students and faculty, and enhancing the facilities.


Do you have a vision for AUP alumni relations?

I would like to see alumni and affiliates connecting with AUP in a way that enhances their own lives – no matter what stage they’re in – and also helps support the student experience and meet the goals of the institution. From a fundraising perspective, I would like to see AUP alumni, friends and families making the institution a philanthropic priority and a place where they want to financially invest in the success of the school.