Vice President for Development
Mary provides leadership and mentoring to staff in the offices of development, alumni relations, and the Career Center. She provides strategic direction for all aspects of the college’s fundraising and external engagement efforts and serves as a key member of the president’s cabinet.
Mary earned her bachelor of arts degree in religion from Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, Minnesota. She earned her master’s of nonprofit management degree from Hamline University in Saint Paul and a certificate of advanced leadership studies from St. Catherine’s University. She also was a recent Lutheran Educational Conference of North America (LECNA) Fellow, a program that provides a year-long leadership development experience organized around vocation and calling, sustainable leader development and visionary organizational leadership.
Sherry (Braun) Alcock ’82, P’17
Executive Director of Alumni Relations
Sherry is responsible for developing and directing Luther’s programs for all alumni, parents, and friends of the college. These programs include Homecoming, on- and off-campus events, alumni tours, along with all marketing and communications for the office. She also is the point person for the Alumni Council, Alumni Association, and the Black Alumni Association. She oversees the alumni relations staff. Sherry graduated from Luther in 1982 and joined the alumni team in 1990.
Daina (Hollnagel) Bond ’93
Donor Records Coordinator
Daina is responsible for the computer entry of pledges/gifts and receipting of gifts, and she coordinates corporate and matching gifts. She interacts with the Financial Services and Financial Aid offices as well as the Information Technology Services software development team.
Interim Director of Engagement
Megan leads the team responsible for keeping alumni, families, and friends connected to and actively engaged with Luther College. She oversees Luther’s major alumni programming, including Homecoming, reunions, alumni events and initiatives, alumni communications, and volunteer and engagement including the Alumni Council.
Megan is active in the Decorah community, serving as a member of the Planning and Zoning Commission. Megan graduated from Gustavus Adolphus College in 2007. She lives in Decorah, with her spouse, Brian, who is a member of Luther’s biology faculty.
Assistant Director of Annual Giving
Keanon is a member of the annual giving team responsible for raising annual unrestricted and restricted gifts to the College. A former college football coach, Keanon uses his considerable skills in recruitment, relationship-building, and training while managing the Phonathon program and optimizing the annual giving team’s strategy through his detailed focus on systems and implementation.
Nathan Ersig ’98
Senior Director of Development
Nathan provides strategic oversight and management of the fundraising activities and teams within the development office, including major and principal gifts, legacy/gift planning, prospect research, and data operations. Together with Jeanie Lovell, he serves as co-director of campaigns.
Active in the community, Nathan serves as a committee member for the Winneshiek County Community Foundation. Nathan graduated from Luther in 1998 with a bachelor’s degree in music.
Director of Systems, User Services and Research
Chris directs development resources research and works to maintain accuracy in Luther’s donor records system. A trained attorney, she focuses especially on donor privacy and rights.
Development Office Event and Program Manager
Shelley provides a variety of event planning and programmatic support in the areas of annual giving and engagement, stewardship, campaign, and special events.
Shelley earned a Bachelor of Science in Education in 2005 and a Master of Public Administration in 2014 from Drake University. She is involved on campus as the staff advisor for the PALS Organization. In the community, Shelley is a member of Decorah Rotary After Hours, Decorah FEC (Family, Educator, and Community Organization), and an assistant coach for Decorah United Soccer Club. Shelley resides in Decorah with her husband, Brad, and daughter, Holly, where they enjoy cheering on both the Decorah Vikings and Luther Norse.
Senior Director, Foundation Relations and Strategic Initiatives
Jeanie oversees all aspects of corporate and foundation grant-seeking for Luther and works with faculty and staff to write proposals and secure funding for projects and initiatives of all kinds. Together with Nathan Ersig, she serves as co-director of Luther’s comprehensive campaigns. Jeanie is also the founder and director of Women, Faith, and Finance, Luther’s collaborative women’s philanthropy initiative. She earned a master’s degree in Philanthropy and Development at Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota, and a bachelor’s degree in communication and English from Central College. Jeanie is an active member of AFP and ALDE and maintains certification as a Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE).
Paul Mullen ’79
Paul travels in Rochester and Southern Minnesota, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, Arizona, New Mexico, and the Pacific Northwest to build relationships and invite gifts from alumni, parents, and friends of the College.
Along with his work at Luther, Paul is a member of the Rotary Club of Decorah and a participant with the Decorah Chapter of 100 Men Who Care. He graduated from Luther in 1979 and received a Master of Science degree from Montana State University in 1980. Paul and his wife, Elise (Barton) Mullen ’80, reside in Decorah.
Andrew Peter ’14
Director of Major Gifts
Andrew manages Luther’s major gift program and leads a team responsible for building relationships and inviting gifts to the College in support of institutional priorities and strategic initiatives. He travels and manages relationships with our alumni, parents, and friends in Minneapolis/Saint Paul, northern Minnesota, North Dakota, northern California, the Mid-Atlantic and New England.
Andrew graduated from Luther in 2014 and is currently a student in the Philanthropy and Nonprofit Development MA program at the University of Northern Iowa.
Mary Lynn (Swenson) Rettig ’79
Senior Development Officer
Mary Lynn travels in central and southern Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Colorado, Texas, and southern California to build relationships and invite gifts from alumni, parents, and friends of the College.
Mary Lynn is a 1979 graduate of Luther College. While a student, she worked at Preus Library, an experience that led her to the University of Iowa where she earned an MLS in Library Science and PhD in Higher Education. She and her husband, David, reside in the Amana Colonies where they own a winery and are active in various community organizations. She is also a member of the Iowa City Noon Rotary, serving on the Scholarship Committee.
Director of Prospect Strategy and Research
Elaine manages Luther’s prospect strategy and research program. She partners with fundraising staff to assist with the management of prospects through the fundraising lifecycle while also working to expand and maximize fundraising results.
Sharon Sander-Palmer P’27
Alumni Administrative Coordinator
Sharon provides administrative and project management support for programming and events in the alumni office and provides direct administrative support to the Executive Director of Alumni Relations.
Director of Annual Giving and Engagement
Allie manages Luther’s annual giving program that raises annual unrestricted and restricted gifts to the College. She leads a team responsible for increasing annual giving revenue and participation, broadening the base of support, and strengthening leadership gifts.
Allie is involved in the Decorah community as Trustee for the Decorah Public Library and as a violinist in the Oneota Valley Community Orchestra. Allie graduated from Boston College in 2009 and holds a Masters in Divinity from Boston University School of Theology. An ordained United Methodist minister, she regularly preaches at area churches.
Mariah Bringer Smith ’95, P’24
Director of Parent and Family Relations and Special Projects
Mariah (she/her/hers) coordinates all components of parent and family engagement programming. Active in her community, Mariah has previously served as Luther’s representative to the Decorah Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, as a member of the Decorah Chorale Board of Directors, and is a past president of ArtHaus in Decorah. Mariah graduated from Luther in 1995 with a degree in music (with a music management certificate) and is the parent of a current Luther student and of a graduate of St. Olaf College. In her spare time, Mariah enjoys walking the local trails with her dog, Oliver, crossword puzzles, and listening to NPR.
Development Office Operations Coordinator
Elijah manages functions related to mass and segmented fundraising, stewardship, program, and event communications across platforms. Elijah is responsible for creating efficient systems and processes to streamline office operations and handles a variety of specialized administrative operations including implementing, coordinating, and monitoring complex mailings and projects, supporting budget management systems, tracking volunteers, and maintaining Development-related webpages.
Director of Planned Giving and Data Operations
Kelly leads and manages Luther’s planned giving program, as well as the gift processing, data management, process design, and accounting operations for the division. She works alongside the development team in building relationships and securing philanthropic support through bequest intentions, charitable gift annuities, trusts, and other gift planning vehicles from alumni, parents, and friends of the College.
Kelly holds the Certified Gift Planning Associate (CGPA) and Certified Gift Planning Professional (CGPP) designations, and is an active member of the Minnesota Gift Planning Association, serving on the Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Access committee.
Samantha travels in northern Iowa, Minneapolis/Saint Paul, Illinois, North and South Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, and Florida to build relationships and invite gifts from alumni, parents, and friends of the College.
Along with her work at Luther, Samantha is involved in the Decorah community serving on the Nordic Fest Board of Directors and is active in Decorah Rotary After Hours and 100 Women Who Care. Samantha graduated from Davidson College in 1995 with a bachelor’s degree in English. Samantha resides in Decorah with her husband Daniel where they enjoy hiking and biking Decorah’s many outdoor trails.
Steph Tomlin ’09
Assistant Director of Engagement
Steph is a member of the annual giving team responsible for organizing Reunion committees for Signature Reunion programs. Partnering with reunion committee members, she works to help foster relationships between the college and alumni. She is a Luther College 2009 graduate, and serves on the Luther College Sustainability Council.
Rachel (Schutte) Vsetecka ’09
Director of Stewardship and Special Events
Rachel administers the college’s President’s Council donor recognition program, along with other special event and donor stewardship activities. Partnering with campus departments, she works to steward donors and encourage continued gift support.
Rachel volunteers in her community and serves as the President of the Howard County Childcare Association Board and is the Treasurer of the Regional Health Services of Howard County Foundation Board. Rachel graduated from Luther in 2009 with a degree in management and she and her husband, Rod, have two children.