Development Staff

Gift Amount

Stephen Sporer

Vice President for Development

Stephen serves as the college's chief development officer and provides leadership for the alumni and development office. He 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. Stephen travels nationwide to build relationships and invite gifts from alumni, parents, and friends of the college.

Daina Bond

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.

Megan Buckingham

Assistant Director of Reunion Giving

Megan oversees the 35th and 40th reunion efforts. She manages the programming, works collaboratively with class volunteer leaders, and spearheads the reunion giving campaigns. Megan is active in the Decorah community, serving on church and community boards and singing in the Decorah Chorale.

Sue Drilling

Director of Stewardship and Special Events

Sue 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. Sue also coordinates Family Weekend each year.

Nate Ersig

Director of Development-Major and Planned Gifts

Nathan manages the major gift, principal gift, and legacy/gift planning efforts of the development office. He travels nationwide to build relationships and invite gifts from alumni, parents, and friends of the college. Together with Jeanie Lovell, Nathan serves as co-director of campaigns.

Chris Frana

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.

Annette Laitinen

Administrative Assistant, Annual Giving

Annette provides administrative support to the Luther Fund team, assisting with signature reunion planning, Parents and Family Council, and Class Agents, as well as sending out weekly and monthly donor correspondence.

Jeanie Lovell

Sr. 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

Development Officer

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.

Doug Nelson

Senior Development Officer

Doug travels throughout the greater Midwest, as well as Colorado and Texas, to build relationships and invite gifts from alumni, parents, and friends of the College. Doug also assists in coordinating Luther's scholarship program, The Legacy Trust.

Andrew Peter

Development Officer

Andrew travels in Minneapolis/St.Paul, Northern Minnesota, North Dakota, Florida, the Mid-Atlantic and New England to build relationships and invite gifts from alumni, parents, and friends of the College.

Mariah Smith

Director of Development-Current Gifts

Mariah coordinates all components of the annual giving program, along with her staff colleagues, student, alumni, and parent volunteers. She also oversees the reunion giving program, Parents and Family Council, and the Class Agent program. 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).

Kelly Sorenson

Assistant Director of Legacy and Gift Planning

Kelly leads and manages the planned giving program and Luther's planned giving society, the Heritage Club. 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.

Samantha Spilde

Development Officer

Samantha travels in Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, and California to build relationships and invite gifts from alumni, parents, and friends of the College.

Megan Torkelson

Director of the Luther Fund

Megan oversees the annual fund giving efforts. She serves as the "gnome-in-chief" for Luther’s annual Giving Day, manages the student engagement efforts (including the calling program and senior giving), and raises support for the Luther Fund. Along with her work at Luther, Megan serves on the ArtHaus board of directors in Decorah and sings with the Decorah Chorale. Megan graduated from Luther in 2005 and also has a Masters in Arts and Cultural Management from St. Mary’s University of Minnesota.

Rachel Vsetecka

Director of Reunion Giving

Rachel oversees the signature reunion giving program and the reunion campaigns. She works closely with the 25- and 50-year reunions and collaborates with class volunteer leaders to plan reunion events and raise funds for their campaign.

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.


Nicole Waskow

Administrative Assistant, Development