Development staff directory
Vice President’s Office
Jay E. Davenport, CFRE
Vice President of Development and Alumni Relations
Phone: (804) 828-2343
Jay Davenport began his position as vice president for Development and Alumni Relations in September 2017. Before joining VCU, Davenport served as associate vice president of individual giving and campaign management at Wake Forest University.
As VCU’s chief development officer, Davenport leads development and alumni engagement efforts for both the university and VCU Health. Areas under his purview include advancement services, alumni relations, annual giving, corporate and foundation relations, development and alumni communications, donor relations, regional philanthropy and the universitywide development staff.
Davenport has served in several roles at Wake Forest since 2010, including as assistant vice president of college development, assistant vice president of major gifts and associate vice president and campaign director. Previously, Davenport was director of development and team leader at Rice University and held fundraising positions as a college development director at the University of Memphis College of Business and Wright State University College of Engineering. He began his higher education career as an assistant dean of admissions at Wittenberg University in 1995.
Davenport holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Xavier University and a master's degree in higher education administration from Ball State University.
Shannon Gravitt (B.S.’99/H&S)
Special Assistant to the Vice President
Phone: (804) 827-0536
Shannon Gravitt previously worked at McGuireWoods, where she supported the executive director and chief officers of the firm. Gravitt has almost 20 years of experience supporting senior executives in organizations as diverse as Bank of America, HDL, Circuit City and the University of Richmond. She brings a proactive and flexible approach to managing multiple duties within the workplace. Gravitt graduated from VCU with a bachelor's in criminal justice.
Magnus H. Johnsson (M.P.A.’10/GPA; Cert.’10/H&S)
Senior Associate Vice President for Development
Phone: (804) 827-1363
Magnus Johnsson joined VCU in 2007 as executive director of external relations and development for the School of Education before taking on his current role in February 2015.
Johnsson brings more than 20 years of fundraising experience and has served volunteer leadership roles as past president of the Virginia Association of Fundraising Executives and the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Central Virginia Chapter. His work experience includes senior leadership roles at UMFS and the United Way of Greater Richmond and Petersburg. Johnsson received his Certified Fund Raising Executive credentials in 2004 and is a member of the 2015 Class of Leadership Metro Richmond.
He earned a M.P.A. from Virginia Commonwealth University and a B.S. in public administration from James Madison University.
As senior associate vice president for development, Johnsson oversees the areas of principal giving, regional giving and corporate and foundation relations.
Samantha Wheeler Marrs
Senior Associate Vice President for Development Operations
Phone: (804) 828-1229
Samantha Wheeler Marrs joined VCU in 2000 as director of corporate and foundation relations.
Today, her primary responsibility is to manage key DAR areas, including budget, Strategic Marketing and Engagement and Advancement Services, including donor relations, communications, annual giving, regional philanthropy and corporate and foundation relations.
Her previous experience includes eight years as program associate at The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, where she coordinated higher-education grants. She holds degrees from Smith College and Columbia University. She has served as president of a local middle school PTA, chair of the board of the Virginia Poverty Law Center and secretary/treasurer of the board of VirginiaFIRST, a nonprofit dedicated to expanding STEM activities across the commonwealth.
Thomas Maness, M.P.A.
Associate Vice President for Development - Health Sciences/MCV Campus
Phone: (804) 827-4936
Tom Maness originally came to VCU in 2018 as associate dean and chief development officer for the School of Medicine. He was appointed to his current role in January 2019 and has responsibility for philanthropic support across the health sciences campus including the colleges and schools of Dentistry, Health Professions, Medicine, Nursing and Pharmacy. This also includes the Massey Cancer Center as well as the hospitals, clinics and programs of VCU Health.
He has more than 20 years of experience in the field of philanthropy mostly at academic medical centers. Prior to his time at VCU, he served as AVP for annual, major and planned giving at Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, D.C., where he had responsibility for all individual giving programs. He also has extensive experience in enhancing and expanding grateful patient and family programs through partnership with physicians, researchers and other health care providers.
Prior to joining Children’s National, he served in the joint development office of NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital and Weill Cornell Medical College in Manhattan. He served in various roles including major gifts officer, associate director of major gifts and manager of major gifts. His management duties included building and leading teams of gift officers in major and mid-level giving as well as overseeing numerous donor affinity groups. During this time, Tom participated in three comprehensive campaigns of $1 billion or more.
He holds a master’s of public administration in public policy and nonprofit management from the Wagner School of Public Service at New York University.
Associate Vice President for Development - Monroe Park Campus
Phone: (804) 828-4205
Michael Morelius comes from St. Edward’s University, where he oversaw the closing of $40 million in new gifts. He managed all major gift and planned giving officers responsible for portfolios of donors with minimum $25,000 gift capacity as well as the corporate and foundation relations office and annual giving program. His role at VCU is to help increase the fundraising efforts of the Monroe Park Campus schools and colleges, VCU Athletics and the Institute for Contemporary Art.
From August 2011 to October 2015, Morelius was director of development for the College of Science for the Texas A&M Foundation. As team lead, he facilitated raising $62 million. He managed a portfolio of 170 households capable of making commitments of $100,000 or more and maintained an average of 21 donor and qualification visits per month.
Morelius was director of development at Rice University from October 2006 to July 2011. He began his fundraising career as a student caller at Texas A&M. Over the course of his career, he has directly helped to raise more than $115 million.
He is a graduate of Texas A&M, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in biology in 1999. He and his wife, Kristen, have two children, Kristopher and Brynne Leigh.
Senior Executive Assistant
Phone: (804) 828-3718
Alex McDougall (B.S.’13/H&S)
Capital Campaign Manager
Phone: (804) 828-0933