Bob Darrah named senior director of development for College of Engineering

July 17, 2023

By Tim Schley 

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. Bob Darrah has been named the senior director of development and alumni relations for Penn State’s College of Engineering, effective July 31. 

Darrah brings with him more than 20 years of fundraising experience, most recently serving as the director of development for Penn State University Libraries and Scholarly Communications. In that role, he led the team to exceed its $32.5 million goal in the University’s most recent campaign, “A Greater Penn State for 21st Century Excellence,” including personally raising more than $12 million in the 2022 fiscal year. 

“Bob brings a wealth of knowledge, passion and fundraising skill that will help deepen existing relationships and create new opportunities for philanthropic partnership,” said Tonya Peeples, interim Harold and Inge Marcus Dean of Engineering. “The spirit of generosity is a hallmark of our community. We are excited to see Bob and his team connect with friends and alumni and support the college in new and exciting ways.” 

Darrah will be responsible for leading the Development and Alumni Relations Office in one of the largest academic colleges at the University with an alumni base of more than 129,000. 

“This is an exciting opportunity to partner with leadership and work with the talented development and alumni relations team in the College of Engineering to make a lasting impact,” Darrah said. “The College of Engineering is crucial to the mission of the University. I’m looking forward to fostering new collaborations that help fuel the pioneering research and world-class education found here.”  

Prior to his five years with University Libraries and Scholarly Communications, Darrah served as the associate director of development in the Penn State College of Arts and Architecture from 2010 to 2012 and as the director of major gifts in the College of the Liberal Arts from 2015 to 2017. In between, he worked as the director of development for the School of Music and Dance at the University of Oregon. 

In addition, Darrah held roles in fundraising and member relations for the Portland Art Museum, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and the University of Virginia. He earned a bachelor’s degree in classics from the University of Oregon in 2001 and a master’s degree in comparative literature from Penn State in 2020. 

“We work very hard to build relationships with our donors,” Darrah said. “Strong relationships lead to tremendous gift outcomes, and at Penn State, my colleagues and I are privileged to help direct that generosity to create a better university and a better world for all.” 

Gifts to the College of Engineering advance the University’s historic land-grant mission to serve and lead. Through philanthropy, alumni and friends are helping students to join the Penn State family and prepare for lifelong success; driving research, outreach and economic development that grow our shared strength and readiness for the future; and increasing the University’s impact for families, patients, and communities across the Commonwealth and around the world. Learn more by visiting 


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