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Augsburg names Amy Alkire as Vice President of Institutional Advancement

Augsburg University is pleased to announce the appointment of Amy Alkire as vice president of Institutional Advancement, effective September 8.

Amy will lead the university into the public phase of Augsburg’s Great Returns Campaign, our largest campaign in history, as well as continue to grow our culture of philanthropy and engage our alumni, friends, faculty, and staff.

Amy started at Augsburg eight years ago as a gift officer and director of leadership gifts. In 2015, she was promoted to assistant vice president, a role she held until this past August when President Pribbenow asked her to move into the interim vice president role after Heather Riddle’s departure.

“The opportunity to promote Amy to serve as Augsburg’s vice president for institutional advancement was very meaningful to me,” says President Paul Pribbenow. “She has been a part of the advancement staff for several years and has illustrated through her outstanding work a passion for Augsburg’s mission and strong professional skills. I look forward to working with Amy and her colleagues as we continue to strengthen Augsburg’s philanthropic culture.”

When asked about her new role, Amy says she is excited for the challenge of it. She loves working with Augsburg’s alumni, donors, faculty, and staff and is passionate about Augsburg’s mission.

“Amy has provided amazing leadership working with our board and the Augsburg community over the years,” says Matt Entenza, Augsburg University’s Board of Regents chair. “I’m very excited to get to work with her because she embodies what it means to be an Auggie!”

Prior to her work at Augsburg, Amy was a development officer for two years at Children’s Hospital Minnesota and a major gift officer at Concordia University—St. Paul for three years. Amy was also a teacher for eight years, teaching English and literature, before she moved into a career in development.

“I’m laser focused on the strategies that will engage the Augsburg community and foster philanthropy to solidify Augsburg’s long-term financial stability,” says Amy. “We have a strong team and I am eager to continue to build upon their strengths. I am grateful to Kristen and Sarah for their partnership in leading Advancement efforts and look forward to great successes in the future.” 

Along with Amy’s promotion to vice president, Institutional Advancement has two other promotions. Sarah Erkkinen, assistant vice president for special projects, will be promoted to associate vice president, Institutional Advancement leading principal and major gifts and the campaign. Kristen Cooper, senior director of advancement, will be promoted to assistant vice president, Institutional Advancement Operations and Alumni/ae Engagement.

Outside of work, Amy serves on the Lake City Education Board of Directors and is a member of the City Council for Lake City.

Amy currently lives in Lake City, her hometown, with her husband, their two kids, and their three dogs.

A legacy of tremendous advancement at Augsburg

After nearly nine years of advancement work and leading two of Augsburg University’s most successful fundraising campaigns, Heather Riddle, vice president for Institutional Advancement, has accepted a position as senior vice president and chief development officer for American Public Media and Minnesota Public Radio (MPR).

“Under Heather’s leadership, generous Auggies have given millions of dollars for strategic campus improvements, created new scholarships for talented Augsburg students, and made impacts well into the future. I am thrilled for Heather and confident in the great group of Augsburg advancement leaders she’s encouraged, who will continue the culture of generosity at Augsburg moving forward,” says Matt Entenza, chair of Augsburg’s Board of Regents

Heather on a 2016 hard hat tour of the Hagfors Center for Science, Business, and Religion.
Heather on a 2016 hard hat tour of the Hagfors Center for Science, Business, and Religion.

Heather joined Augsburg in September 2012, during the capital campaign for the Norman and Evangeline Hagfors Center for Science, Business, and Religion. Under Heather’s leadership, that campaign successfully raised more than $55 million from more than 1,000 donors. Heather herself closed three of the largest gifts for the Hagfors Center campaign, totaling more than $25 million.

“Heather’s leadership in Institutional Advancement has been nothing short of transformational,” says Robert Groven, associate professor of Communication Studies, Film & New Media, and director of the Minnesota Urban Debate League at Augsburg. “She built a true culture of collaboration and philanthropy across campus and throughout Augsburg’s worldwide network of alumni. Heather’s creativity and relationships helped to break nearly every fundraising record in Augsburg history!”

Heather’s commitment to lead Augsburg’s development and constituent relations work has made a great impact on the university. During her time at Augsburg, Heather helped reimagine alumni relations and supervised an Alumni Board that has hosted many successful events in recent years, including Augsburg’s Sesquicentennial Gala and Homecoming in 2019. She has also helped lay the foundation for Augsburg’s first ever All School Reunion, to take place Fall 2022.

Beyond Heather’s fundraising skills was her ability to build an exceptional team in Institutional Advancement. The team has been working hard on the quiet phase for Augsburg’s next campaign, the Great Returns Campaign, which is already poised to reach a level of giving that will make it the largest single campaign in Augsburg history.

Heather with artist Rory Wakemup at the ribbon cutting ceremony for the Hagfors Center for Science, Business, and Religion.
Heather with artist Rory Wakemup at the ribbon cutting ceremony for the Hagfors Center for Science, Business, and Religion.

“When I first met Heather, it was obvious that she found joy in both the art and science of philanthropic fundraising. When she came to Augsburg nine years ago, she brought that joy, along with her strong professional experience and skills, and helped transform the culture of philanthropy for our university. There are obvious signs of her good workthe Hagfors Center, the Great Returns Campaign, Give to the Max Day records, and so onbut perhaps most importantly, she has invited all of us into the wonder of how philanthropy can transform an institution. Heather’s impact on Augsburg will be clear well into our next 150 years,” says President Paul Pribbenow.

President Pribbenow has asked Assistant Vice President of Advancement, Amy Alkire, to serve as interim vice president for Advancement. Assistant Vice President for Special Projects Sarah Erkkinen and Senior Director of Advancement Kristen Cooper will work closely with Amy and President Pribbenow on organizational planning during this transition.

The Augsburg Community shares our gratitude for Heather’s work as she embarks on a new adventure. We thank her for her unyielding commitment and dedication over the past nine years and wish her all the best.