David Palmer - Vice President, Advancement

David N. Palmer

Vice President, Advancement, University of Toronto
416-978-2125 or email

Since 2007, David has served as Vice-President Advancement for the University of Toronto, Canada’s largest research-intensive university, with 86,000 students on three campuses and more than 550,000 alumni in over 190 countries. David has been leading the University’s ambitious Boundless Campaign since its public launch in November, 2011. With an expanded $2.4 billion goal, Boundless is the largest campaign in Canadian university history – an ambitious and necessary undertaking to help prepare the next generation of global citizens and to address today’s defining global challenges.

From 1999 to 2007, David served as President and Executive Director of the Royal Ontario Museum Board of Governors (originally the ROM Foundation) where he led Renaissance ROM – a transformational campaign that re-defined the Museum’s financial resource base, its public brand, and its position as a major international cultural destination. Recognizing the Museum’s mandate that encompasses both world civilizations and natural history, he made a priority of reaching out to Canada’s Japanese, South Asian, Chinese, Ukrainian, Italian, Greek and other communities locally and nationally. The Renaissance ROM Campaign, unique in Canada for its inclusiveness, generated an enormous sense of pride and engagement among these diverse communities, exemplified by a landmark gift from Michael Lee-Chin to name the Museum’s new building.

David Palmer is a Senior Fellow of Massey College, an executive committee member of the National Council of Foundation Executives, and a director of the Earth Rangers Foundation. He earned his Master of Fine Arts in musicology from Princeton University and began his career as a Lecturer in the Faculty of Music at The University of Western Ontario, his undergraduate alma mater. After his first foray into development and marketing at Orchestra London, David would return to Western to lead a ground-breaking campaign for the University of Western Ontario’s School of Business Administration. These efforts resulted in it being renamed the Richard Ivey School of Business, ushering in a new era in professional-faculty fundraising in Canada.

In recognition of his strategic and principled approach, and for helping redefine the fundraising potential for several charitable sectors in Canada, David was recognized in 2011 with the Outstanding Fundraising Professional Award by the Association of Fundraising Professionals. In 2016 he was recognized with the Outstanding Achievement Award by the Canadian Council for the Advancement of Education.