Edward J. Lewis
Director of Development
Ed Lewis joined the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center in 2006 to provide strategic direction for a comprehensive fundraising program for the performing arts, which includes support for the School of Music, the School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies and the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center. In addition to leading the development staff, he is part of the Center’s team of directors, which is responsible for long-range planning, organizational structure and policy-making, and institutional budgeting. Ed also stewards the Center’s Leadership Council.
Ed holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Northwestern University and a Master of Music degree from the University of Michigan. He is a violist and also an alumnus of the University of Maryland School of Music where he studied chamber music with the Guarneri String Quartet. Ed’s professional experiences include performing as a member of the Dallas Opera Orchestra, the Dallas Chamber Orchestra, Pro Musica Santa Fe, and the Toledo Symphony. In addition, Ed has also performed with the Spoleto Festival Orchestra, the National Repertory Orchestra (NRO), the Utah Chamber Music Festival, and was a Fellow at the Aspen Music Festival.
Ed has over a decade of nonprofit management and fundraising experience in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area and brings a wealth of academic practice in the performing arts where he has served as studio teacher, chamber music coach and conductor at the University of Dallas. Ed enjoys his work at the Center for the opportunities it provides to explore and experience performing arts disciplines beyond his own classical music training. “I particularly value the opportunity to deepen my artistic experiences by engaging with accomplished visiting artists, faculty and students in a supportive creative environment.”
David D. Robinson-Slemp
Associate Director of Development
David Robinson-Slemp joined the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center in the fall of 2011 to provide operational support for the performing arts’ fundraising program. Working with the Director of Development, David oversees the annual institutional and individual giving programs for the Center, the School of Music and the School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies.
Fulfilling a two-month research project in divinity school in 1996, David received a personal calling to pursue a career in nonprofit development. As a result, he has gained much experience as a fundraising professional, from working with an organization dedicated to promoting the economic sovereignty on tribal lands to building a community-based performing arts center for low-income families. He credits much of what he has learned by listening to donors and by understanding what they want to accomplish with their giving: “The message is simple: Philanthropy reminds us of our civility. It is the principal means through which many sectors are not only sustained, but also allowed to thrive.”
For David, patrons of the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center continue to support opportunities that transform lives, as well as set new standards for what performing arts centers can be on college campuses. “Each season, audience members can participate in extraordinary artistic programs. More importantly, they can witness firsthand how individuals, particularly students, are enriching their lives through the creative process. In this regard, the Clarice Smith Center is a flagship program that I am excited to join.”
Assistant Director of Institutional Giving
Debby Vargas joined the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center in the fall of 2008 to broaden institutional support for the Center and the performing arts academic units within it. Generous grants from government agencies, foundations, and corporations help make the Center a transformative place for all involved.
Debby holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Franklin & Marshall College and has worked in the nonprofit arena since 1999 at Center Stage in Baltimore and Enterprise Community Partners in Columbia. Prior to her nonprofit experience, Debby spent several years in the corporate sector at PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP and Wachovia Securities. Outside of work, Debby has previously volunteered with Team in Training, Pets on Wheels, and as a middle school mentor with the Enterprise Women's Network.
Scott S. Eichinger
Manager of Individual Donor Relations
Scott Eichinger, Manager of Individual Donor Relations since January 2007, is charged with managing annual individual giving for the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center and the performing arts academic units within the Center. From special events to the donor newsletter, Scott works to ensure donors experience special insider opportunities and stay informed of the behind the scenes activities in the Center.
He has a BFA in Theatre Management from the University of Wisconsin-Superior and an MA in Arts Management from American University. He started working in development in 2000, with his past experiences at the Shakespeare Theatre Company and Environmental Law Institute.
He says that his favorite thing about working at the Center is, "the passion. You can feel it when you walk in the doors. There is something truly special about this place. Everyone, from the students and faculty to the staff and patrons, has a passion for life and the arts. That positive, creative energy and enthusiasm fills these spaces and breathes life into the Center."
Renee Sicchitano joined Development in August, 2010 to provide project and administrative support for the department. She oversees gift processing and assists with donor recognition and special events. She also coordinates establishing connections between scholarship donors and student recipients for the academic units in the Center.
Renee is a University of Maryland alumna, with a Bachelor of Arts degree in History. While obtaining her degree, she also worked in the Student Affairs office in the College of Arts and Humanities. She left Maryland and was employed for ten years in the Donor Relations department at Furman University in Greenville, SC. Her focus at Furman was on stewarding scholarship donors and planning donor events.
During her non-working hours, Renee enjoys cycling, reading, and visiting the many historical sites in and around Washington, DC. About working at the Center, she says “I am truly honored to be a part of such a special place. The creative energy is evident the minute you walk into the building and I am glad to be able to assist in making the Center a success.”
Graduate Assistant for Development
Drew Barker joined the Development team in the summer of 2011 as the Graduate Assistant. Currently, he is a Master’s candidate in the Theatre and Performance Studies program and focusing on how history informs and transforms American Theatre. Though he grew up as a son of an Air Force officer in the American West, he claims North Carolina as home. After graduating from UNC Greensboro with a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts in Theatre Education he taught Theatre and English in the North Carolinian county where his grandfather grew up.
Drew then became involved in the not-for-profit arts scene as the Artistic Associate at Triad Stage where he worked with dramaturgy, casting, education and more before enrolling at the University of Maryland. With his wife and others he founded the Hand in the Fire theatre company in order to produce provocative and inspiring theatre wherever they can find a place to perform. Arts in education have always been a source of significance for him and that is why being on staff at the Center “makes me feel like I am helping contribute not only to an artistic community, but also an educational experience that can transformatively affect the lives of others.”