Carnegie Mellon University

The Piper

CMU Community News

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February 05, 2019

Niceswanger Beams with Plaid Pride

By Kelly Saavedra

Kristin Niceswanger loves to show people around Carnegie Mellon University’s Pittsburgh campus.

Working as a development professional at Carnegie Mellon for 16 years, Niceswanger has seen a lot of changes at the university.

“The way the physical space has evolved — from Cohon Center to the Tepper Quad to Gates and Hillman Centers — is such a reflection of us. When you stand on Forbes Avenue and take in your surroundings on both sides, not only does it look beautiful but the university just feels so much more connected,” Niceswanger said. “It makes me so proud to be a part of this community.”

“If prospective students are judging our book by its cover,” she added, “then they are getting a much more accurate picture now of what Carnegie Mellon is about.”

Although it wasn’t her intention at the time, Niceswanger began her career in development as an undergraduate at Chatham University while pursuing a degree in political science and history. As a student, she was employed in the advancement office for four years where she gained experience in development, alumni relations, and anything else that landed on her plate.

“I loved it,” she said. “The reason I wanted to work in alumni relations then was to meet alumni and build connections and start to think about life after graduation. Little did I know, I was already on my path.”  

When she graduated, a former supervisor was already working at Carnegie Mellon and mentioned there was an open position in advancement here.

“It was a great opportunity to work at CMU and earn my master’s degree in arts management, which is something else I am passionate about,” she said.

Niceswanger spent 15 years working in the development office at the Heinz College, where she earned two promotions while wearing all the “hats” she was accustomed to and adding a few new ones in the form of event planning and working with volunteers.

Her passion for higher education and providing opportunities for students led to her current role as assistant director of Donor Relations.

“I was fortunate to be a first-generation college student who benefited from scholarships and a lot of financial support, so I feel like this is a great way to carry that tradition forward,” she said.

“I really enjoy sharing our students’ stories with our donors and showing them what an impact they’ve made, letting them know how much we value them.”

Outside of work, Niceswanger spends time with her husband taking care of their pet rabbits, Carl and Stella, and showing their new daughter, Meghan, around the city they love.

“Pittsburgh is home,” she said. “I don’t necessarily care for the cold weather, but everything else here is bright enough to outshine that.”