Meet Opeyemi Laniyonu, Poly’s New Director of Annual Giving

Poly welcomes our new Director of Annual Giving, Opeyemi Laniyonu, who has joined the Advancement team from the Chestnut Hill School in Massachusetts, where he served as Director of Advancement.

Opeyemi Laniyonu

He previously served as Assistant Director, Executive Education at the Georgetown University McDonough School of Business and before that as Associate Director of Admission at the Maret School in Washington, D.C., a K-12 coed school.

A Foundation Built on the Value of Education

Growing up in Rockville, MD, a multicultural suburb of Washington, D.C., Laniyonu always felt he could become anything he wanted to be. As the oldest son of Nigerian immigrants, he saw the value his parents put on education, especially in the sacrifice and determination of his mother, who worked full time while earning her nursing degree. As a high school senior, Laniyonu had the life-changing opportunity to teach a remedial math class for freshmen. “I knew I wanted to stay in education,” he said of the experience.

Opeyemi Laniyonu

He saw the opportunities that were open to him through higher education, earning a B.S. in both marketing and international business from the University of Maryland. He is completing a M.S.Ed with a focus on school leadership from the University of Pennsylvania this summer.

Laniyonu describes himself as a “people person,” and his enthusiasm bubbles out in his voice, whether he is speaking about work, meeting new people, or the pleasure of the best burger he has ever tasted in Boston as a self-proclaimed “burger connoisseur.”

He is definitely excited and eager to be part of the Poly community and to hear the stories of students, parents, faculty, and alumni.

“The ambition to realize the greatness lying within our institution, in our students, and in ourselves is what drew me to Poly.”

Laniyonu speaks about wanting to be an “authentic part of Poly’s mission for our school to be the best it can be” and for every member of the community “to be the best version of themselves.” “The ambition to realize the greatness lying within our institution, in our students, and in ourselves is what drew me to Poly,” he said, “and the excitement and joy I felt while on campus only served to solidify that belief.” On an early visit to the Dyker Heights campus, he was impressed with the wide-ranging conversations he had with students. At the Lower School, he easily felt at home with the vibrant atmosphere he found, noting that former Lower School Head Larry Donovan had also come from the Chestnut Hill School.

Laniyonu said his impressions were confirmed when he spoke with Head of School Audrius Barzdukas P’20, who is dedicated to this mission of Poly being the best school it can be and our students “the best versions of themselves.” As a member of the Advancement team, Laniyonu looks forward to sharing the philosophy of the “power of philanthropy” with all members of the community.

New Role in Challenging Times

As he starts his new role, Laniyonu admits we live in challenging times, but he will work tirelessly to get the support of all members of the Poly community “to support an institution I believe in.” As an African American man, he said, he brings a personal perspective to this role, which may help to shed light on difficult, but needed conversations at Poly in an honest way. Laniyonu is looking forward to “becoming a member of the community myself” and beginning the conversations.