Once on the receiving end of scholarships, Katherine Freund is now working diligently to secure scholarships and other funds to support UNLV’s more than 5,000 graduate and professional students. The Graduate College’s new director of development is creating impactful partnerships to support more than 175 programs. Freund holds a master’s degree in history and museum studies as well as bachelor’s degrees in business administration and art history, all from the University of Missouri-St. Louis.
You requested to have your photo include graduate students. Why was that important to you?
An essential part of my job is being able to share their experiences with donors and community partners and speak to the fascinating work they are doing in their respective fields. The photo shoot was a great way to get to know some of our amazing students and learn about how the Graduate College and our donors have advanced their academic and professional careers.
What inspired you to get into your field?
As a grateful recipient of several scholarships, I experienced firsthand the impact that financial support can have on the overall quality of your education and how it can support the trajectory of your desired career path. I have fundraised for education throughout my career because I believe it is such an important philanthropic investment that has a broad impact. The achievements of our graduate scholars at UNLV are truly awe-inspiring, and our donors who support graduate education play an integral role in providing necessary resources to foster student success.
What drew you to UNLV?
I was drawn to UNLV because graduate school was a transformative experience for me both personally and professionally, and fundraising in support of our graduate programs is especially meaningful because I believe in the immense value that comes from obtaining an advanced degree.
What’s the most Vegas thing you’ve done since you got here?
I think the most Vegas thing that we’ve done so far is see Wayne Newton perform his Up Close and Personal show.
Tell us about a moment in life you’d like a “do-over” on.
Sadly, I never participated in the graduation ceremonies for any of my degrees. For undergrad, I had just started working a full-time job and didn’t want to request a day off too soon as a new employee. During my master’s degree, the pandemic resulted in the university holding the graduation ceremony virtually, but with the option of walking during a future ceremony when it was safe. I decided to wait for the future ceremony so that I could officially walk in person. When the graduation date was announced, I already had a prior commitment scheduled and was out of town.
If you weren’t a fundraiser, what would you be?
I love gelato and coffee, so I’d probably be a small business owner of a gelato and coffee shop.