Daniel Coyle served as principal gifts associate in UNLV's advancement office before taking on the multiple roles of director of development officer and academic advisor in the Honors College. In the newly created position of development officer, he works with alumni, friends, foundations, and corporations to secure private gifts in support of the college. He is also a part-time faculty member teaching Honors Public Speaking, a position he has held since 2010. Coyle earned both his M.A. and B.A. degrees in communication studies from UNLV.
Where did you grow up?
Right here in Las Vegas. I went to Centennial High School, and then got both of my degrees from UNLV. My wife was born and raised here, too. Everything lined up to keep me in Las Vegas.
What inspired you to get into development?
Originally I thought of development as sales--most people do. But conversations with the vice president of advancement made me realize that what a development officer does is to match people who have resources with a cause they want to support. When I thought about how I personally handle making charitable gifts, this made sense to me. My wife and I set aside money each year to give away, but it takes someone to ask us for our support, to tell us how our gift will make a difference, to get us excited about supporting a specific cause. If I feel that about making charitable gifts, then I have to believe that the same thing occurs with major donors, if on a different scale.
Why the Honors College?
I wanted to be part of a program that gives high achieving students the education they deserve, one that they simply wouldn't get at any other university, no matter how prestigious. I feel we have an opportunity to work with exceptional students and blow their expectations out of the water.
Your job description includes development officer, student advisor, and teacher. Is there a common thread?
In development, I can bring in funds for scholarships and programs; as an advisor, I can be a guide toward personal goals; and as a teacher of public speaking, I can help students express themselves with confidence and clarity. All of these roles give me a chance to be hands-on in creating a rich educational experience for Honors College students.
Can anyone be a great public speaker?
Yes. To me, a great public speaker is someone who has found their own voice...and confidently walks and speaks in that voice.
Is there a professor who you hold up as a model?
Thomas Burkholder. As an undergraduate, I took his course in the rhetorical tradition. It was my first course in persuasive writing, and I got really jazzed. When he asked me if I had ever considered graduate school, I was sold. He became my thesis advisor.
Who is your hero?
My wife. She has inspired me to be a hard worker, a moral man, a good father. The way she lives is exemplary.
What would people be surprised to learn about you?
I've completed two Tough Mudders -- endurance runs through extreme obstacles -- and I'm training for my third. We're putting together an Honors College team to compete this spring.
I never leave home without...
Saying a prayer. Not a quick prayer, but an intentional one. That, and my phone.
If you could be any comic book character, who would it be?
Iron Man. He's charismatic and brilliant.
--compiled by Marian Alper, director of donor relations at the UNLV Foundation