Personnel Change to Announce

December 19, 2013 | 2 p.m.


It is with sadness that I announce the resignation of Kathleen Nelson, senior vice president for finance and administration, effective February 7. Kathleen arrived at Bethel in January 2009 after 20 years of top level financial management at Northwest Airlines. When she arrived at Bethel she was moving from one challenged industry to another – airlines to higher education. She was also coming home. Kathleen received her undergraduate degree at Bethel before getting her MBA at the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota. It is significant that many of her closest friends are Bethel alumni 27 years after graduation. Kathleen also served 8 years as a Bethel trustee.

When Kathleen arrived at Bethel 5 years ago the university encountered the first wave of the country’s economic collapse. Since then, the families of more than 500 Bethel students lost the income of their primary wage earner. She helped to reengineer the budget so that a doubling of financial aid could keep students enrolled. She drove a deeper analysis of our budget model, helped us understand more deeply the net tuition revenue per student in each school, and got us through the first (and subsequent) waves of economic challenge. She was also instrumental in making budget and financial information more transparent.

Kathleen was at her best when tackling complicated projects or specific challenges to Bethel’s mission. She was a key partner in the acquisition of the Pine Tree building and led the way in dealing with the City of Arden Hills. She was also the point person with the U.S. Department of Education in our dispute regarding our financial responsibility score. Her determination served Bethel exceptionally well in rallying the support of our auditors, Congresswoman Betty McCollum, and legal assistance from Gray Plant Mooty. She moved Bethel beyond what any other university has been able to accomplish with the department, paving new ground for the industry. She was vital in moving forward several construction projects including the CAPS/GS Bloomington teaching site, the seminary expansion in San Diego, the expansion of the biology labs and cadaver labs, the build out of the active learning classrooms and nursing labs in the Hagstrom Center, and the build out of the Physician Assistant and CAPS/GS space at the Pine Tree building, as well as planning and design for the Health and Wellness Center.

Kathleen is diligent, dedicated, and determined. At Bethel she has seen things that others have missed, asked questions that others did not think of, and continues to love Bethel deeply. She has served us in remarkable ways and I will miss her partnership. Please join me in expressing our gratitude to Kathleen for her 5 years of service to Bethel. More information on a transition plan for Kathleen’s responsibilities will follow in January.

Serving Together,