Contact Information

Lydia Slattery
Media Relations Specialist

Phone: 563-387-1417

Luther College announces presidential search committee

The Luther College Board of Regents announced the members of the presidential search committee who will lead the process to identify Luther College’s 11th president. In May, President Paula Carlson announced she will retire after the conclusion of the 2018-19 academic year.

“The composition of our presidential search committee was determined after an extensive and collaborative effort to understand and apply current best practices in higher education presidential search processes,” explains J. Robert Paulson,¬† Jr., vice chair of Luther’s Board of Regents and chair of the presidential search committee. “The individuals were selected to represent a cross-section of the various constituencies of Luther College. Individually and collectively, they bring a broad and inclusive array of education, backgrounds, skills, abilities, personal and professional qualities, and experiences and frames of reference to the search process.

Members of the Luther College presidential search committee are:

Board of Regent representatives

Bishop Michael Burk, Southeastern Iowa Synod of the ELCA

George Kuh, Luther class of 1968; regent emeritus; professor emeritus, Indiana University

Sandee Joppa, Luther class of 1987, human resources executive, Joppa Consulting, LLC

J. Robert Paulson, Jr., Luther class of 1978, president and CEO NxThera, Inc.

Connie Plaehn, Luther class of 1975, retired investment executive, J.P. Morgan

James Thomsen, Luther class of 1986, president of Thrivent Holdings, Thrivent Financial

Judy Vijums, Luther class of 1988, managing director, HCI Equity Partners 

Faculty representatives

Anne-Marine Feat, associate professor, French; chair, division of Humanities and Fine Arts.

Steve Holland, associate professor economics; department head of economics, accounting and management

Novian Whitsitt, associate professor, Africanca studies and English; department head of Africana studies


Staff representatives

Alex Smith, Luther class of 2003, associate athletic director for operations and facilities

Amy Wrightsman, Luther class of 2001, director, budgeting and internal control

Student representative

Janet Irankunda, Luther class of 2019, student senate president, music major

The Chair of the Board of Regents Wendy (Jaycox) Davidson ’92, will serve as an ex-officio member of the presidential search committee; and Sally Ming, assistant to the president, will provide support to the search committee.

Earlier this month, The Board of Regents announced that they had retained Storbeck/Pimentel & Associates, a nationally known and highly respected higher education executive search firm, to work with the presidential search committee and the Board of Regents. Julie Tea, a partner, and Kenna Boyd, an associate, with Storbeck/Pimentel will facilitate the process and assist the search committee in developing and making its recommendation to the Board of Regents.

Tea and Boyd of Storbeck/Pimentel & Associates will be on campus Sept. 13-14 to meet with individuals representing a variety of Luther’s constituent groups to gather thoughts and perspectives on the challenges and opportunities, as well as the leadership skills and personal attributes seen as most important for our next president. Luther College will also launch an electronic stakeholder survey to provide input; that will open shortly.

With the information gathered from the campus visits and the survey, Storbeck/Pimentel & Associates, in collaboration with the presidential search committee, will compile a search prospectus to describe Luther College, together with the profile of and the leadership agenda for the next president.

This search prospectus will be distributed to the Luther community and utilized by Storbeck/Pimentel & Associates to garner nominations and expressions of interest.

The search process is expected to take several months, with the target for the Board of Regents to elect the next president in early 2019 and the president to assume office in summer 2019.

More information on the search can be found at

Contact Information

Lydia Slattery
Media Relations Specialist

Phone: 563-387-1417