A Dornsife Alum Comes Home to Find Success

Ceres Botros

Ceres Botros-Migdal ’04

Managing Director of Development
USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences

We’ve been told that Ceres Botros-Migdal ’04 was named for the Roman goddess of the harvest, and it’s no surprise, given her talents for raising major and principal gifts as the managing director of development at the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences. Ceres, who’s been at USC since 2013, began working at Dornsife in 2016, where she’s been promoted twice and has held her current position for the past three years.

“It felt like coming home,” she says. “As a Dornsife alumna, raising funds for the heart of the university has been incredibly fulfilling and meaningful. Almost eight years later, I’ve had the privilege of growing with this team and seeing the College flourish under Dean Amber Miller’s extraordinary vision.”

In addition to crediting Dean Miller, Ceres has nothing but praise for her manager at Dornsife, Assistant Dean of Advancement Lorri Grubaugh. Lorri was at the USC Gould School of Law when she hired Ceres as an associate director for the school’s annual fund team. When Lorri moved to Dornsife, she brought Ceres over at the first opportunity. Under Lorri’s leadership, Ceres helps manage Dornsife’s Major Gifts team, and directly oversees two associate directors. She fundraises across all divisions of the College, and works closely with alumni, parents and friends of USC, both in Los Angeles and the Bay Area.

“My relationship with Lorri has undoubtedly shaped my career. From the moment she hired me, she has helped pave the way for my success. She deeply believes in my talents and has fostered a wonderful environment for my professional growth. When the managing director position became available, I knew I could seamlessly transition into the role. After working with Lorri for the better part of a decade, we have a steadfast and trusting relationship, which makes us a successful duo.” 

Before coming over to Dornsife to join Lorri, Ceres spent 18 months at the USC Viterbi School of Engineering, first as their inaugural special gifts officer, charged with bridging the gap between annual fund and major gifts, and then as Viterbi’s director of development. There, she learned how to speak about complex topics and the importance of innovation. These tools have led to her growth as a more sophisticated gift officer.

“At first,” she explains, “my opportunities stemmed from hard work as well as colleagues vouching for my talents and encouraging me to take the next step. As I gained professional maturity and realized this was a career I wanted to pursue, I became more deliberate about my future. Over the last several years, I’ve positioned myself and carved out opportunities that align with my goals. For example, once I knew I wanted to be a manager, I intentionally sought out opportunities to be a mentor to my colleagues. In doing so, I gained the valuable skills of being a strategic partner and investing in my colleagues’ success. Now, as a manager, I am well equipped to guide my team as they learn and grow in their roles.”

When it comes to advising others on how to move forward at the university, Ceres insists “the more friends you have, the more successful you’ll be!” She continues, “USC is a complex institution, and it takes time to understand it. Making connections across campus and on various teams will help you better navigate the complexities of your work. Being collegial at an institution like USC is a conscious choice, but one that will prove to be very rewarding. I always say there is enough for all of us to be happy and successful. My success does not take away from yours, and vice versa. It’s important to be joyful in seeing others succeed—that’s how you learn and grow.”

When you have as much responsibility as Ceres has, it behooves you to make as much as possible of your down time. “To most people’s surprise,” she says, “I love embroidery and find it very therapeutic! It’s a great way to feel productive while also exercising my perfectionist tendencies. I also enjoy Pilates and try to practice four times per week. My husband and I share a 16-year-old dachshund, James, who is the life of our home. And we love traveling internationally as often as we can!”

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