Major Gift Officers
Executive Director of University Development Initiatives
Tara focuses on developing relationships with alumni and friends to build affinity for the university and secure philanthropic support for the College of Arts and Sciences. As a member of the leadership team, Tara also oversees a team of major gift officers ensuring they are successful in each of their roles. Prior to joining Stetson, Tara spent over 10 years at UCF where she held four different positions with the UCF Foundation. She began her advancement career at UCF in alumni relations and then moved into development where she held positions with the College of Arts and Humanities, The UCF Fund and the College of Business Administration. Before transitioning into higher education, Tara worked as an event coordinator with the Brevard Cultural Alliance in Melbourne.
Tara graduated with honors from UCF with a bachelor's degree in advertising and public relations and completed her MBA at UCF in 2009.
Assistant Vice President for Development and Alumni Engagement
Rina serves in a hybrid position within the division, focusing on parent and alumni engagement and philanthropy. It is her goal that parents will witness their students' growth and transformation through the Stetson experience, and will want to contribute through their time, talent and resources. Rina also strives to build authentic relationships with alumni so that she understands where their talents, passions and resources might connect within the university to have the greatest impact on the current student experience.
Rina previously served as dean of students and vice president for campus life at Stetson. This makes her a tremendous resource for parents and alumni alike. Rina joined the Stetson team in 2005 after nearly a decade at Rollins College and other small private liberal arts institutions throughout the country. Throughout her 25 years in higher education, she has been involved in numerous professional associations and has presented at several national conferences. In 2013, Rina was presented with the NASPA Region III Bob E. Leach Award for Outstanding Service to Students.
Rina holds a bachelor's degree from Nebraska Wesleyan University and a master's degree in Higher Education Administration from Western Illinois University.
Major Gifts Officer - School of Music
Mike focuses on fundraising for the Stetson School of Music. Prior to joining Stetson, Mike served as the chief operating officer for the Loveland Living Planet Aquarium in Salt Lake City, Utah. His responsibilities included operational and strategic leadership for all areas, including guest services, education, zoological operations, marketing, human resources, facilities and development.
Mike has spent the majority of his professional career in a variety of roles at the Walt Disney World Resort, including creative entertainment, entertainment operations, new product development, finance, corporate and special events, and project management as well as professional development and training. Business units included Creative Entertainment, Park Operations, Costuming and Cosmetology, Disney Cruise Line, Consumer Direct Sales, Disney Event Group, Guest Information & Communication, and Disney Institute. Mike brings more than 25 years of industry knowledge, leadership, innovative ideas, and outstanding management skills and business relationships.
Mike holds an MBA from the Owen Graduate School of Management at Vanderbilt University in addition to Bachelor and Master of Music Education degrees from Texas Tech University. Still an avid musician, he is the founder of the Tapestry Brass Quintet and performs regularly with regional orchestras and professional ensembles in Central Florida.
Heather McCormick, PhD
Heather comes to Stetson with a long history of success in many areas at the University of Georgia. A former All-American and NCAA Champion gymnast, McCormick most recently served as the Director of Men’s Basketball Administration at her alma mater, serving as the program’s liaison to multiple areas inside the UGA athletics department, including business, compliance, development, equipment, human resources, marketing and promotions, communications and ticketing. She served as a close advisor to head coach Tom Crean with regard to all administrative decisions within the program.
Prior to taking on her most recent role within the UGA men’s basketball program in 2019, she served in a similar capacity for the women’s gymnastics program from 2017-19.
McCormick worked outside of athletics, as Major Gifts Director, for the University of Georgia from 2012-to 17. During that time, she was responsible for representing all of the University’s schools and units, working with directors, Deans, and other major gift officers to identify, cultivate and steward donors. Her efforts were primarily focused on donors in Florida, Alabama, Louisiana, Washington D.C. as well as the Dallas-Ft. Worth area of Texas.
A triple graduate from the University of Georgia, McCormick received her bachelor of Business in Accounting in 1994, her Master of Education in Sport Management in 1996, and her Ph.D. in Sport Management and Policy in 2014. While working on her degrees, she also spent time as a consultant and senior recruiter for All-American Resources, as a pharmaceutical sales representative, and as a marketing and promotions assistant at Georgia Tech within the athletics department.
As a student-athlete, McCormick was a member of the 1993 NCAA Champion Georgia gymnastics team and she also helped the Bulldogs capture SEC titles in 1991, 1992, and 1993. She won the NCAA championship in the vault in 1992 and 1993 and was the NCAA champion in the floor exercise in 1993. She was the first Georgia gymnast chosen as the SEC Gymnast of the year.
A native of Sterling Heights, Mich., McCormick was inducted into the UGA Circle of Honor in 2006 and into the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame in 2012. She now serves as a member of the Senior Selection Committee for the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame.
McCormick and her husband, Matt, a former UGA football letter winner, have two sons – Shane, a student at the University of South Florida, and Wade, a junior at Prince Avenue Christian School. She has worked as a volunteer to assist student-athletes with career development and the transition to life after sports has worked with area Boy’s and Girl’s Clubs and is active in the effort to raise money for cancer research. She also has a dog, Molly, a CavaPoo that doesn't know she is a dog.