Robert Cioffi
Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa

Serving the communities that sustain him is the guiding force in Rob Cioffi’s life.

Rob Cioffi ’90 earned his bachelor’s degree in political science with a minor in economics. An active member of the Student Government Association, Mr. Cioffi put his policy interests and governance studies into practice as the student representative to the UVM board of trustees, marking the beginning of an engaged and continuing leadership role in the UVM community.

Since his time as a young alumnus, Mr. Cioffi has held many influential positions. A recipient of the Kidder Medal for student leadership, the UVM Alumni Association’s Young Alumni Award, and the Alumni Association Distinguished Service Award, with his wife, Meghan ’91, Mr. Cioffi co-chaired UVM’s National Campaign Steering Committee from 2002 to 2007, co-chaired the Move Mountains Campaign (2011–2019), and currently sits on the UVM Foundation Leadership Council.

The pinnacle of Mr. Cioffi’s UVM leadership is clearly his most recent two terms on the UVM board of trustees, serving as chair of the board from 2010 to 2014. As chair, he guided his university through significant challenges, opportunities, and achievements. He describes the high point of his trustee career as chairing the 2012 Presidential Search Committee, resulting in the appointment of E. Thomas Sullivan as the university’s 26th president.

A native son of St. Albans, Vermont, Rob Cioffi comes from a family with a strong leadership and service ethos. Following a distinguished career in the Army, his late father, Lieutenant Colonel William Cioffi, served the city of St. Albans as city manager. He also coached and managed youth sports throughout his life, a commitment to community service that influenced his children. Mr. Cioffi’s mother, Therese (M.Ed. ’94), was a teacher for more than 30 years and reinforced not only a commitment to service but also to education.

A true Catamount family, each of Rob Cioffi’s four siblings also attended UVM, either completing undergraduate or graduate school—or both. When it came time to celebrate their father’s seventieth birthday, the Cioffi siblings chose a gift that they knew would honor their parents in a way most dear to them: they established the William G. and Therese A. Cioffi Scholarship to support Franklin County’s most promising students. The merit-based award, which considers both academic performance and community service, is designed to encourage the brightest and most committed students from Franklin County to stay in state and study at UVM.

Mr. Cioffi began his career at the Franklin County Development Corporation and on the staff of U.S. Senator James Jeffords before he moved to New York to join Chase Manhattan Bank. After receiving his master’s degree in business administration from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, he joined GE Equity, becoming senior vice president. He is currently a partner at Jupiter Capital and a venture partner at Alerion Partners, a private equity fund located in Connecticut.

A spirited UVM basketball fan, Mr. Cioffi was the first member of the Victory Club, the dedicated circle of UVM Athletics benefactors. His focus on strengthening UVM Athletics includes contributing to equipment purchases for the Athletic Performance Center and projects to support and enhance both the men’s and women’s basketball programs. He has also hosted numerous event receptions for alumni and UVM teams at away games. In 2014, he was inducted into the UVM Athletics Hall of Fame in honor of his steadfast support and service to UVM.

In 2015, Rob and Meghan Cioffi made a signature gift to men’s basketball, establishing the Meghan and Robert Cioffi Endowed Men’s Basketball Head Coach position, the first of its kind both at UVM and in the America East Conference. Funds from the endowment are allocated to highest priority needs in the men’s basketball program, including student-athlete development, facilities enhancements, and academic excellence. UVM Athletics’ dedication to academics is displayed through the Catamounts winning the Academic Cup twice as many times as any of our competitors in the America East conference. Rob and Meghan Cioffi want student-athletes to excel both on the field and in academics; this endowment supports the athletics program in pursuing these dual paths to success.

Mr. Cioffi’s community engagement is wide reaching beyond Vermont. He currently sits on the boards of the New Canaan YMCA and St. Luke’s School in New Canaan, Connecticut. In addition, he has previously served on the boards of the National Ability Center in Park City, Utah, the Norwalk Hospital Foundation and the National Down Syndrome Society, among others.

The University of Vermont strives to inspire students to become engaged leaders and citizens. Through his dedication to the UVM community, focus on student access, and spirit for scholar-athlete success, Rob Cioffi embodies the values of leadership and involvement that make communities thrive.