Stephen Bayer

Stephen Bayer
Vice President for Development and Alumni Relations

Stephen Bayer, a seasoned fundraiser with over 22 years of leadership experience in higher education, joined Rice as vice president for development and alumni relations in Sept. 2023. He has a track record of building and managing large teams of fundraisers and advancement professionals, driving innovative strategies and consistently exceeding goals. 

In his role as vice president, Stephen collaborates with university leadership on crafting a strategy and execution plan to increase annual fundraising significantly and to grow and diversify charitable support to underpin critical initiatives. He is responsible for creating multi-year strategies for new donor pipelines, meeting annual fundraising goals, enhancing current systems, recruiting and retaining top talent, and improving alumni outreach and engagement across all schools and programs.

Prior to Rice, Stephen served as the senior associate vice president of alumni engagement and development at Duke University, where he was responsible for managing a staff of 180 spanning major and leadership gifts, gift planning, international development and foundation relations. He played a critical leadership role in the design, strategy and management of the Duke Forward Campaign, which raised $2.85 billion, exceeding the campaign’s goal by $600 million. He joined Duke in 2011 as associate vice president for development.

Stephen began his development career in 2001 at Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania, where he served as associate director of planned giving, and left in 2011 after spending three years as the college’s vice president for development and alumni relations. During his time at Swarthmore, he led a staff of 50 and a goal-breaking $245 million campaign, the largest in the college’s history.

Prior to his work in development, he practiced commercial litigation in Philadelphia and spent five years in personal investment banking working closely with high net-worth entrepreneurs, assisting his clients in diversifying and managing personal investments, growing their businesses through joint venture equity and transferring generational wealth through creative estate planning and insurance funding.

Stephen earned a Juris Doctor from Emory University School of Law and a bachelor’s degree in international relations from Tufts University.