Tamika Peay has spent her professional career in the service of helping others achieve their dreams and goals.
"I spent some years after college doing social work investigating child abuse for Delaware County and that was kind of emotionally and mentally exhausting. I knew I wanted to change careers," said Peay, the new Assistant Dean for Development and Alumni Relations for University College. "At the time, I relocated to South Florida, which provided me an opportunity to explore some other career paths where I would still be able to help others."
Prior to moving, Peay said, "I had taken a course in fundraising development and began to realize that was what I wanted to do."
"I wanted to help organizations that help people. So, I started off with the American Cancer Society in their fundraising department back in 2002 and then moved over to another smaller organization, the Kann Melanoma Foundation, which focused on skin cancer education; a topic that was very important in South Florida," she said. "When I decided to relocate back to the Philadelphia area, I knew I wanted to do something in either higher education or in a hospital setting."
Temple University, Peay said, "always resonated with me."
"Temple's mission in particular is something I wanted to support — making a good education accessible for all. I grew up in a family where helping others was always instilled in me," she said. "You always help people that may be less fortunate than you — I developed a passion for it. To help students succeed in higher education, which is so essential in this country, there's no feeling quite like it. I thought this would be a great place for me."
Peay brings more than 20 years of experience in higher education, alumni relations, development, building collaborative partnerships and community outreach to University College. She is also no stranger to the Temple University community. She began at Temple in July 2014 as a Leadership Gift Officer. She was then appointed Director of Development for Regional Giving.
Her responsibilities included managing the qualification, cultivation, solicitation and stewardship of major and principal gift prospects and donors; building a strong, proactive major gifts program that builds philanthropy and moved forward the priorities of the University's schools and colleges; and managing a portfolio of up to 125 donors with the capacity to make a major or principal gift to Temple.
Peay is additionally the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Liaison for Temple's Office of Institutional Advancement (IA) and the primary liaison on DEI-related issues within the department. She has worked with IA leadership to develop and implement proactive, integrative DEI goals and strategies in addition to working with colleagues and departments across the University to build a culture of genuine inclusion.
"Throughout my time at Temple, as director of development for regional giving, I met with a lot of different people. I recognized challenges that Temple was having in this area of diversity, equity and inclusion — when it related to students, when it related to staff and alumni — and I wanted to help in whatever way I could in that area," she said. "I partnered with my colleague Charles Brown who is also in institutional advancement and we started this not as experts but knowing that we wanted to address some of the challenges that the department was having."
In that effort, Peay said, they were exposed to other departments within Temple that also wanted to address this challenge.
"It opened my eyes to a lot of different resources, a lot of different opportunities and initiatives to help in this area for students, alumni and staff," she said. "I really wanted to get the conversation going. I want Temple to be a leader in the area of diversity, equity and inclusion."
Prior to arriving at Temple, Peay was the Director of Development at the African American Museum in Philadelphia from 2012 to 2014 and Executive Director of the Richard David Kann Melanoma Foundation in West Palm Beach, Florida from 2004 to 2012.
"It was a great experience. The African American Museum of Philadelphia has been around for a long time — I remember going to the museum as a child — and I don't think it's ever received the attention that it deserves," she said. "The museum is a great opportunity to learn about the history of African Americans in Philadelphia. My goal at the museum was to ensure that they could compete for the limited pool of funding that is available for cultural institutions in Philadelphia, to get them the resources that they so desperately deserved."
Peay is now turning her result-driven development expertise toward University College and its unique programs and constituents. University College includes the Temple University Ambler, Harrisburg and Center City campuses, Summer and Special Programs, Digital Education, the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI), the Real Estate Institute, the Ambler Arboretum of Temple University, the Temple Ambler Field Station, the new Bachelor of General Studies program and ProRanger Philadelphia.
"It's important to get to know the different areas within Temple — and now within University College — to meet and collaborate with the key players. During my time in regional giving, I've built strong relationships, which I think will help me in this role," Peay said. "I see the potential in my new position. Along with supporting the existing programs within University College, I think there is potential for some other things to fall under the purview of University College with the guidance and leadership of Vice Provost (Vicki) McGarvey."
Peay said each campus and program within University College is integral to the University's ongoing mission, providing educational programs for a richly diverse population of students. That population includes high school students experiencing a college campus for the first-time during summer programs, the future National Park Service rangers in ProRanger Philadelphia and the more than 1,000 lifelong learners that have made OLLI so successful.
"University College encompasses a lot of different programs and experiences that you won't typically find at universities at large. You're able to customize these initiatives, see the promise that they have and help them to grow," she said. "I look forward to working with the experts within these programs to determine what their funding priorities are, what the initiatives are really all about, and promoting these unique experiences to our constituents."