Since 2007, David Palmer has served as Vice-President, Advancement for the University of Toronto, a research-intensive institution, world leader in discovery and clinical medicine, and Canada’s most renowned university. Under David’s leadership, in December 2021, U of T launched its Defy Gravity campaign, to raise $4 billion and to engage alumni in one million contributions of time and talent. Built on a framework of inclusive excellence, the Defy Gravity campaign will create new knowledge, innovations, solutions, and talent for today’s most pressing societal challenges.
Under David’s leadership, in 2018 the University of Toronto completed its Boundless campaign—at the time, the largest fundraising campaign in Canadian history—with $2.64 billion raised from more than 104,000 unique donors, while more than tripling alumni engagement.
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.
From 1999 to 2007, David served as President and Executive Director of the Royal Ontario Museum Board of Governors 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. From 1993 to 1999, David led a ground-breaking campaign for the University of Western Ontario’s business school. These efforts resulted in it being renamed the Richard Ivey School of Business, ushering in a new era in professional-faculty fundraising 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.
The University of Toronto is Canada’s largest university, with 95,000 students on three campuses, 23,000 faculty, staff and librarians, and 640,000 alumni in more than 190 countries. U of T a member of AAU, CASE 50, and the Advancement Leadership Forum. It is consistently ranked among the world’s top universities: 1st in Canada and 18th globally—Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2022; 3rd in research output in sciences and 1st among public universities—N.T.U. 2021; 5th in clinical medicine—U.S. News & World Report 2022; 12th worldwide for Global Employability of Graduates—T.H.E. 2021.