Deborah Briggs

Deborah Briggs

MS '81 Music Education
Distinguished Legacy Award

Deborah Briggs has spent the last 20 years in positions dedicated to the arts, most recently as vice president for philanthropy, arts, culture, and education at the Betsy Hotel in Miami Beach, Florida. At the Betsy, she created what has been called "one of the most creative hotel brands in the world."

For almost 40 years, Briggs has provided leadership as a staff member, professional mentor, and consultant at foundations and corporations, colleges and universities, public and private schools, and organizations providing direct services and advocacy. She has also developed and delivered university-level coursework in cause-related marketing and public relations, nonprofit administration, program development, and evaluation.

Briggs holds a doctorate in arts education and a master's degree in education from Columbia University, a master of science degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, a bachelor's degree from the Eastman School of Music of the University of Rochester in voice performance, and a certificate in public policy from the Institute for Educational Leadership in Washington, DC. In 2004, she was named one of Maryland's Top 100 Women for her work connecting business and nonprofit enterprise, as organizational leader, mentor, and community volunteer.

At the Betsy, she's worked with hundreds of partners (local, regional, national, and international) since 2009. Through the creation of and roll out of the Betsy's Writer's Room, she's also brought more than 700 artists and writers to southern Florida—with many of them participating in at least one act of community service during their stay. 

A two-time winner of the coveted Knight Arts Challenge Program, Deborah has garnered the attention of both the profit communities and the nonprofit communities for her work's ability to bring people from disparate walks of life together around powerful ideas—by exploring the power of the arts to inspire and connect.