Sara E. Rubin
Vice President, Development
What does it take to convince someone to give up Manhattan for Columbus, Ohio? Sara Rubin grows quiet, crosses her arms and leans forward in her chair as if confiding a secret. “I learned long ago, more than a place or a title, it’s about working with great people. Mike Eicher gave me an opportunity to change lives and I couldn’t say no.”
This insight shaped Sara's vision and helped her and her staff reinvigorate the Office of Principal Gifts. Now, she and her team are working on doing the same for the entire Development operation. "We help individuals, families, companies and other philanthropists dream big dreams and encourage passions," she says. "Nothing tops those 'ah-ha' moments when donors realize their potential — the potential impact of what they can do for the university and the community."
Attention to creating “ah-ha” moments has been a constant throughout Sara’s career, a journey that began not in fundraising but in theatre. She will happily share stories of entire days spent backstage, raising and lowering a curtain — bringing the timing of the close in sync with specific musical notes.
“Getting a curtain closed at the exact right moment sounds like a little thing, and it is, but little things make or break a show. And timing is everything,” Sara explains. It is a philosophy that has served her well since turning her attention to development.
Sara made the leap from stage manager to fundraiser at Johns Hopkins University, where she played many roles including development officer, manager and strategist. She followed Johns Hopkins with a turn as Assistant Vice President at Cornell University with oversight of fundraising activities in the Cornell libraries, athletics, the Johnson Museum, student a¬nd academic services, and development services. Prior to joining Ohio State, Sara served two years as Assistant Dean for Development and Alumni Relations at New York University School of Law.
“Coming to Ohio State has been wonderful. New York is still one of my favorite places in the world, but I’ve made a lot of great memories here in Columbus,” she says. “Helping colleagues close big gifts for their colleges or units, being part of Night on the Oval campaign close celebration, working with President and Mrs. Drake, celebrating staff birthdays in a poetic way. It’s really been a great experience.”
Despite her change in fields, Sara’s love of the arts has endured. She admits to a special fondness for the films of Ang Lee and a love for music that encompasses everything from Big Band and music theatre to Pink Floyd.
“Do what you love, work hard, and good things will happen,” Sara says. “Follow those two rules and you’ll be amazed where they take you.”