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John-Paul Roczniak named UA Foundation president, CEO

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Jesus Barrera
John-Paul “JP” Roczniak, new president and CEO of the UA Foundation stands for a photo in his office on Thursday, April 14.

John-Paul “JP” Roczniak might be found spending time with his wife Christine during the weekend on the golf course, walking their two dogs or simply enjoying the lifestyle that comes with living in Arizona. During the week, however, Roczniak can be found at the desk of the president and CEO of the University of Arizona Foundation.

Read more: UA Foundation fast facts, what the foundation does.

Roczniak was named the UA Foundation’s permanent president and CEO at the beginning of April, a position he had held on an interim basis since July 2015. He has worked at the UA Foundation since 2007, when he previously worked as the associate vice president of principal giving and planned gifts.

While Roczniak’s journey to his new position did not begin in Arizona, it always involved the field of development. It was not until Roczniak and his wife were in Arizona visiting his sister-in-law in 2000 when the idea of moving to the Southwest became a possibility.

Roczniak and his wife moved to Tucson in 2001, where Roczniak took a job as the associate director of development for the Eller College of Management.

He briefly left the UA in 2004 for a position at the University of Rochester, where he got to be close to his mother, since his father had recently died. But, there was always a part of him that ached to return to the UA.

“My mom is a lot stronger than I thought she was and she knew I missed Arizona,” Roczniak said. “My wife knew I missed Arizona, and when the opportunity came in 2007, I came back in a heartbeat because it’s such a great institution and I loved working here the first time. I’ve been here ever since.”

Since his return nine years ago, Roczniak worked closely with past UA Presidents, Robert Shelton and Eugene Sander, and with current UA President Ann Weaver Hart. He said that part of his job was building relationships with the individuals who had made significant contributions to the university.

Roczniak’s responsibilities grew over the years, leading him to oversee the planned giving office, which was responsible for helping people who have made provisions in their wills, estates or trusts. From there, he went on to become the interim president and CEO, before recently being named for the permanent position.

“I love Arizona. I love this institution and my plans are to be here as long as I’m wanted and as long as I feel like I’m doing a good job for this institution,” Roczniak said. “This is such a phenomenal opportunity.”

He has a list of things he hopes to accomplish for the UA Foundation as president and CEO. The first is to ensure that Arizona NOW, a campaign to raise money for the UA, reaches its goal of $1.5 billion. According to the UA Foundation’s website, $1.37 billion has already been raisedc.

Roczniak also hopes to double yearly fundraising over the next five to seven years. Lastly, he hopes to make sure people will follow in the footsteps of significant donors in the past, such as the Eller, Diamond, Zuckerman and Fox families.

“I want to make sure that the foundation that they laid with their support, there are other people coming up who are going to continue that history and that history of giving and giving to this institution at those high levels,” Roczniak said. “I just want to make certain that we’re building a base of donors that when those people are no longer with us, that there are going to be other people taking their place and making significant contributions to move this institution forward.”

Thomas W. Keating, chair of the UA Foundation Board of Trustees, is happy with the choice that was made in selecting the new president and CEO.

“I’m just very, very proud of JP,” Keating said. “I’m proud of the other finalists. It was a wonderful, very thorough process and I’m absolutely convinced that we got the right guy.”

For Roczniak, it seems like all of the paths in his life led to this job, whether it was the chance visit to Arizona in 2000, or a job reopening at the UA when he was in Rochester. Whatever the case may be, Roczniak said he is thankful for where he is now.

“I am thrilled by the opportunity, and I couldn’t have asked for anything more than when this opportunity was presented to me,” he said. “I’m just thrilled to be here and I just want to make certain that we continue to do a great job here at the [UA] Foundation so that we can help the University of Arizona achieve all of its goals.”  


Follow Leah Merrall on Twitter.


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