Stephen K. Sporer named vice president for development at Luther College

November 18, 2019

Luther College President Jenifer K. Ward has announced the appointment of Stephen K. Sporer as vice president for development. He will begin his duties in January.

"Luther College will be well served by Stephen's depth of experience with transformational-level giving, with his true heart for philanthropy and with his knowledge of the special nature of liberal arts college missions," said President Ward. "As someone with experience at both Macalester and Sarah Lawrence, he already speaks the language, and his energy while on campus was infectious and inspiring."

            As vice president for development, Sporer will lead and mentor staff in the offices of development, annual giving, alumni relations, donor relations and development operations. Reporting directly to the president, he will provide strategic direction for all aspects of the college's fundraising and external engagement efforts and serve as a key member of the president's cabinet.

            "As an Iowan with an unapologetic drive to preserve the liberal arts education experience, I was inspired to return to my home state and tackle the important task of working with the Luther and Decorah community to ensure the college continues to thrive for future generations," said Sporer. "Ultimately, two main elements captured my attention: President Ward's open and fearless vision and the bright faculty, staff and alumni who illustrated the necessary dedication required to lead a liberal arts college during unpredictable, fast-changing times and in an era when producing thoughtful, empathetic and inquisitive minds is more crucial than ever."

            Luther is in its final year of the $75 million four-year funding initiative, "Inspired. Empowered. Engaged." The campaign is on target to meet or even exceed expectations. Sporer will be tasked with formulating a future fundraising plan for the college, harnessing the momentum created by the newly adopted strategic plan, a celebrated presidential transition and the success of the "Inspired. Empowered. Engaged." initiative.

            "Engaging and celebrating the alumni and Decorah communities through connections with one another and current Luther students will be at the heart of exceeding a new and ambitious campaign for the college," said Sporer. "I am thrilled with the opportunity to help shine a light on the strong and relevant ways Luther prepares students as they begin to claim their space in the greater world."

Sporer comes to Luther after serving as the director of principal and major gifts at Macalester College in Saint Paul, Minnesota. During his time at Macalester, Sporer worked his way up through the ranks, moving from associate director of major gifts (2014-17) to director of major gifts (2017-18) to director of principal and major gifts beginning in 2018.  In these roles Sporer managed the college's principal gifts portfolio as well as his own impressive portfolio and worked to build an international network of donors. He also assisted in the strategy, planning and fundraising for The Macalester Moment, a $100 million campaign. 

Prior to these positions, Sporer served at Macalester as its associate director of alumni relations from 2007-10 and as its associate director of major gifts from 2010-12.

From 2012-14, Sporer worked at the University of California as its associate director of regional giving, and from 2001-06 he worked at Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, New York, as its director of student activities and associate director of alumni relations.

Sporer holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Northern Iowa, where he majored in English education, and a master's degree from the University of Texas at San Antonio, where he studied adult and higher education with an emphasis on counseling. He has also completed graduate coursework in theatre and writing at Sarah Lawrence.

Sporer will succeed James Jermier, who served as Luther's vice president for development since June 2016.

Luther College is home to more than 1,900 undergraduates who explore big questions and take action to benefit people, communities and society. Our 60+ academic programs, experiential approach to learning and welcoming community inspire students to learn actively, live purposefully and lead courageously for a lifetime of impact. Learn more at